MWB Group Holdings*
* No longer trading
MWB Group Holdings was a property investment firm that owned or operated two quite distinct UK boutique hotel brands, Malmaison
- March 2013 US-based private equity firm KSL buys the 12-strong Malmaison 14-strong Hotel du Vin chains from MWB for an estimated £180m. KSL, which bought West Midlands golfing hotel the Belfry last August, wants to expand the chains in the UK, Europe and overseas. Existing plans include opening a new Malmaison in Dundee in 2013 and a Hotel du Vin in St Andrews in early 2014.
- November 2012 Gary Davis reveals that he is in talks with potential new equity partners for Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, which he says are unaffected by the share suspension. MWB is reported to have lined up accountancy firm Deloitte to help with its financial situation and, on the 16th, it calls in Deloitte as administrator. The hotel brands continue to trade as normal and Davis later reveals their sales and profits have grown by 14% over the previous four months. Hong Kong-based investor Pyrrho Investments (which later bids for MWB Business Exchange) considers legal action against the MWB directors for ‘poor corporate governance’ which former chief executive Balfour-Lynn denies.
- October 2012 Gary Davis announces plans to expand Malmaison into suburban areas with new-build hotels that have a strong focus on leisure membership. At the end of the month, MWB Group its suspends its shares from the London Stock Exchange on account of an outstanding loan of £8m owed to its service office subsidiary, MWB Business Exchange, also owes the parent company £4.8m).
- May 2012 MWB sells its two Bistro du Vin restaurants in London for £1.2m to Burger & Lobster. The two outlets recorded a loss of £330,000 for the 18 months to 30 June 2011.
- March 2012 Gary Davis outlines plans to open three new Malmaisons and three new Hotel du Vins over the next few years via lease agreements and management contracts, but says there will be no more Bistro du Vins.
- March 2012 Co-founder Richard Balfour Lynn steps down as chief executive of MWB, six months after quitting as chief executive of the De Vere Group.
- February 2012 Paul Davis, former finance director of De Vere Hotels, comes on board as finance director for Malmaison and Hotel du Vin.
- January 2012 Gary Davis, former chief executive of De Vere Village, swaps jobs with Robert Cook to become chief executive of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin. Malmaison acquires the old Tay hotel in Dundee on a 35-year FRI lease, which is expected to open in May 2013.
- October 2011 MWB completes the refinancing of its £282.5m bank facility for Malmaison and Hotel du Vin. Robert Cook announces that he will leave his role as chief executive of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin in March 2012.
- August 2011 MWB sells the Aberdeen Malmaison for £16.1m in its fifth sale-and-leaseback deal during 2011. The transactions – which include the London, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle Malmaisons - net the company a total £103m and reduce its debts to £180m.
- August 2011 MWB trials a new restaurant, bar and cocktail lounge concept called Smoak at the Manchester Malmaison.
- May 2011 MWB announces plans to sell and lease back and/or sell some of its Malmaison hotels.
- April 2011 Hotel du Vin opens its first Bistro du Vin standalone brasserie in Clerkenwell, London, on the site of Bjorn van der Horst's former Eastside Inn. It is joined in August by a second site, in Soho, with the group anticipating opening a total of 10 restaurants over the next five years.
- January 2011 Malmaison hires Moreno Occhiloni, former chief operating officer of Rocco Forte (RF) Hotels, to seek out potential sites in mainland Europe.
- May 2010 MWB disposes of its Liberty retail store in London’s Great Marlborough Street to BGL. It sells the freehold for £41.5m, followed by the operating business for £42m.
- May 2010 Robert Cook announces plans to resume the expansion of the two hotel brands after 18 months of consolidation.
- December 2009 MWB seeks to raise £27.5m from the issue of 91.67 million new shares.
- May 2009 A second Pub du Vin – this time without its own rooms – opens in Birmingham.
- January 2009 Looming recession prompts MWB to put its hotel expansion programme on hold until the economy recovers.
- December 2008 MWB places 91.7 million new units at 30p per unit.
- November 2008 MWB opens the 12th Malmaison, in Aberdeen, and a new Hotel du Vin in Edinburgh on the site of a former asylum in Bistro Place. It also reveals it is looking at overseas sites for Malmaison. Hotel du Vin’s first Pub du Vin opens in Brighton.
- October 2008 Hotel du Vin opens its Newcastle hotel on the site of the former Tyne & Wear Shipping Office site later than planned thanks to a fire that broke out in November 2007.
- September 2008 Hotel du Vin opens in Poole, Dorset, on the site of the former Mansion House hotel, which MWB acquired in May 2007.
- August 2008 Hotel du Vin buys a site at the Tannery redevelopment in Cambridge, while MWB puts Malmaison and Hotel du Vin on the market for the third time in 18 months at the reduced price of £650m. Some analysts think this is still too high.
- February 2008 The group announces a capital reorganisation and the creation of a new holding company, MWB Group Holdings.
- January 2008 Hotel du Vin snaps up the four-star St Andrews Golf Hotel in Fife, which reopens in 2010.
- November 2007 The York Hotel du Vin opens, and chief executive Robert Cook outlines plans to expand Malmaison overseas after it is sold by MWB.
- October 2007 Hotel du Vin spends £2.2m on the Sussex Arts Club adjacent to its Brighton hotel for conversion into its first standalone Pub du Vin.
- September 2007 MWB delays the sale of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin until financial conditions stabilise.
- August 2007 MWB is reported to have received a £685m offer from an Irish bidder, thought to be Prem Group.
- July 2007 MWB appoints Bank of America to seek a sale-and-leaseback disposal of its Malmaison and Hotel du Vin hotels. Plans change to an outright sale of the 19 hotels for a reported £700m. Early potential bidders include Quinlan Private and property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz.
- July 2007 Malmaison opens in Reading on the site of the former Great Western station hotel. The property incorporates its high-street concept, Café Mal.
- June 2007 The flotation of Vector Hospitality is pulled at the 11th hour, a day after the proposed share price is dropped. Investors are concerned by the state of the property market and Vector’s management structure, which Balfour-Lynn defends against accusations of mismanagement.
- July 2007 MWB opens Hotel du Vins in Cheltenham and Cambridge.
- April 2007 Balfour-Lynn links up with ex Hilton Group boss Sir David Michels to announce the UK’s first hotel REIT (real estate investment trust). Vector Hospitality comprises a £2.6b portfolio of assets operated by Malmaison, Hotel du Vin, De Vere, Village Hotels, Hilton, Marriot, Rezidor, Thistle and Guoman. Hotel du Vin buys the 38-bedroom Mansion House hotel in Poole, Dorset, for £4m, which it plans to relaunch in spring 2008 after a £5m-£6m refurbishment.
- January 2007 The Liverpool Malmaison opens with a standalone cocktail bar. Hotel du Vin acquires the 34-bedroom Queen's hotel in Aberdeen from Vagabond Hotels.
- September 2006 Hotel du Vin acquires the 75-bedroom Carlton hotel in Cheltenham's Montpelier district off the Price family, which was seeking offers in excess of £5m.
- July 2006 MWB sells the five-star West India Quay Marriott International hotel and its other assets in London’s Docklands for £110m to Yianis Docklands Hotels.
- June 2006 MWB buys Glasgow’s One Devonshire Gardens (opened in 1986 by Malmaison founder Ken McCulloch) for £9.4m and reopens it as a Hotel du Vin in September. It also acquires new Hotel du Vin sites in Edinburgh and Newcastle.
- May 2006 MWB sells the London Marriott Hotel Park Lane to a private Middle Eastern investor for £105m.
- February 2006 Hotel du Vin signs a £17m deal for two new sites, in Cambridge and York, which are planned to open in late 2007.
- December 2005 MWB sells the five-star Radisson Glasgow hotel to the WG Mitchell Group for £52.5m, 18 months ahead of plan. It intends to use £33.8m of the proceeds to repay the debt on the property. Meanwhile, MWB Business Exchange floats on AIM market, raising £15m from the placement of 18.75 million new shares. It retains a 68% stake.
- November 2005 The ninth Malmaison opens, in Oxford, while the second Malmaison-run café (called TEA) opens at MWB’s London department store Liberty.
- August 2005 MWB announces that it has raised £105m in new funding to expand Malmaison and Hotel du Vin.
- June 2005 MWB raises £30m from the Royal Bank of Scotland, which gains a 17.5% stake in the group as a result.
- March 2005 Hotel du Vin opens in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.
- January 2005 MWB puts the Marriott Hotel Park Lane on the market for £110m.
- November 2004 MWB sells the five-star Howard hotel in London for £75m to Samosir. It continues to be managed by Swissotel.
- October 2004 MWB buys the six-strong Hotel du Vin chain for £66.4m from entrepreneurs Robin Hutson and Gerard Basset, 10 years to the day after its creation in 1994. The group has a seventh hotel in the pipeline which opens in Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire in March 2005.
- Summer 2004 The first Malmaison café, called TEA, opens at the Newcastle hotel.
- June 2004 The five-star 301-bedroom Marriott West India Quay hotel opens.
- March 2004 MWB buys the McCausland hotel in Belfast, and reopens it as the first Irish Malmaison in December. It includes two rock’n’roll suites designed by managing director Robert Cook.
- January 2004 Robert Cook comes on board from Ken McCulloch’s Unique Hotel Coporation to head up Malmaison, where he had worked from 1997 to 2000.
- November 2003 MWB’s Charterhouse Square property opens as London’s first Malmaison.
- July 2003 MWB raises funds by issuing £15m new unsecured loan stock.
- March 2003 MWB signs a 35-year management and turnover lease on a former prison in Oxford that is planned to open in 2005 as a Malmaison. It will be the first in which MWB does not own the freehold).
- November 2002 MWB opens both the £45m Radisson Glasgow and the five-star 157-bedroom London Marriott Hotel Park Lane in London following a £95m renovation of the property.
- September 2002 MWB buys out Rezidor’s stake in Malmaison for £6m and takes over its 18-year management contract for a further £7m.
- October 2002 MWB opens the sixth Malmaison, in Birmingham.
- May 2002 MWB raises £20m from the issue of 25 million new shares at 80p per share.
- 2002 MWB reveals plans to open hotels on London’s Park Lane and Glasgow’s Argyle Street Glasgow on 20-year operating and management contracts. It will also refurbish its Howard hotel and West India Quay hotel and serviced apartment properties in London.
- July 2001 MWB wins planning consent for a £300m mixed-use development on a 10-acre-site alongside London’s ExCel centre. French hotel Accor has signed up for the first £35m phase to build two hotels (a Novotel and its first UK SuiteHotel) with a combined 413 bedrooms that are schedule to open in spring 2003.
- March 2001 MWB announces plans to convert its Charterhouse Square property in Smithfield, London, into the first London Malmaison.
- October 2000 MWB buys the five-strong mid-market boutique hotel group Malmaison for £65m, acquiring properties in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle. It buys the rights to the Malmaison name for £11m in a joint venture with hotel operator Rezidor SAS Hospitality, which secures a 20-year management contract for the brand.
- July 2000 MWB acquires the Liberty retail store in London’s Great Marlborough Street.
- March 2000 MWB buys a 95-year lease on the five-star Howard hotel in London from Ellerman Investments for £40m. It subsequently spends £15m refurbishing the property, which is managed by Swissôtel.
- 1998 MWB buys a former hospital in London’s Charterhouse Square to become the first of a four-star line of boutique hotels. In fact, it becomes the first London Malmaison at the end of 2003.
- November 1997 MWB agrees to build a £56m Sofitel hotel on Crown Estate land in Pall Mall, London, for French hotel group Accor. The 186-bedroom hotel – originally planned to be completed by January 2000 – finally opens in April 2002 after several delays.
- June 1997 MWB becomes a public company through a reverse takeover of the listed Ex-Lands Properties plc.
- 1994 Marylebone Warwick Balfour Group is co-founded by Richard Balfour-Lynn, John Harrison and Joe Shashou
MORE LINKS ON CATERERANDHOTELKEEPER.CO.UK
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 (2011): Richard Balfour-Lynn
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 (2011): Robert Cook
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 (2010): Richard Balfour-Lynn
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 (2010): Robert Cook
Interview: Richard Balfour-Lynn on De Vere, Malmaison and Searcys