Bar and restaurant operator Novus Leisure has bought 17 Balls Brothers bars out of administration, including six which trade until the Lewis & Clarke brand for a total of £7.8m.
Novus currently runs 38 venues in across the country including the Tiger Tiger brand and several bars in London's West End and City, including, Grace, Jewel and Bar Soho.
The company will pay £4.65m on completion of the deal with a further £3.2m deferred and payable on successful resolution of landlord and property matters.
Novus plans to "contemporise" the Balls Brothers bars, which are smaller than its existing sites, by broadening their appeal to make them "more relevant to a wider customer base of City professionals". Sites will be refurbished, the menu and drinks offer will be modernised and trading occasions extended.
Steve Richards, chief executive of Novus Leisure, said: "Balls Brothers provides an excellent fit with Novus's focus on its heartland of the City and West End. This acquisition is a great strategic opportunity for us and allows Novus to continue its London expansion. We are keen to continue extending our footprint and capacity in the buoyant London market These sites play to our strengths and we see significant potential to leverage our sales and marketing expertise to Balls Brothers customers whilst contemporising the offer of this heritage brand."
Nick Cropper, partner at Balls Brothers' administrator Zolfo Cooper, said: "The joint administrators are delighted with the sale of Balls Brothers Limited and Lewis & Clarke Limited, as it represents an excellent result for the companies' creditors and preserves the employment of over 300 employees in the City and West End of London. This assignment once again highlights Zolfo Cooper's expertise in the Leisure Sector and underlines the effectiveness of our integrated Corporate Recovery and Corporate Finance offering.
"Our extensive experience of the challenges of multi site trade and asset sales and our knowledge of the potential buyers was crucial in delivering a sale strategy to maximise the outcome for the creditors."
Elsewhere across its portfolio, Novus has reopened Sway and Foundation in London after extensive capital expenditure and also opened a new venue called Piccadilly Institute on Piccadilly Circus. Mansion House also opened in Glasgow during the last month.
By Neil Gerrard
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