Caring poised to buy major stake in Soho House – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

15 October 2007 by
Caring poised to buy major stake in Soho House – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Caring poised to buy major stake in Soho House
Clothing billionaire and leisure investor Richard Caring - whose portfolio includes London's Ivy restaurant, Surrey's Wentworth Golf Club and the Strada restaurant chain - is said to be in talks to buy a majority stake in Soho House, the operator of a collection of luxury private members clubs. The deal, which could value the company at £120m, would leave founder Nick Jones with a minority stake of around 20%, with Caring buying out the other media-related investors who include TV hosts Ant and Dec and restaurateur Hani Farsi. Caring is also believed to be eyeing up Quinessentially, the concierge company run by Duchess of Cornwall's nephew Ben Elliott - Sunday Times, 14 October

£200m Wagamama flotation under threat A lukewarm reception from UK institutions and private equity groups has thrown a question mark over the £200m flotation of noodle bar operator Wagamama, which has 51 venues in the UK, two in the USA and 27 franchised restaurants overseas. It has been suggested that Lion Capital, which has received two informal approaches from private equity firms, would prefer to postpone the flotation rather than cut the price (which observers suggest should be £50m lower). The fall in restaurant stocks since July over fears that economic uncertainty would curb consumer spending has already prompted Café Rouge owner Tragus to delay its £500m offer until next year and may also affect Gaucho Grill's planned £100m listing. - The Times](, 13 October

Scottish hotels outperform UK average in August Hotels in Scotland outperformed the UK average in August, according to the latest monthly figures from accountant and business adviser PKF. Revenue per available room (revpar) grew by 6.8% in Scotland against just 2.4% growthfor the UK as a whole. The rise came despite a 0.2% fall in occupancy in Scottish hotels, which was still lower than the 1.6% decline across the UK. The most robust revpar growth was seen in Aberdeen - where revpar rose by 10.8% -while Glasgow and Edinburgh boosted revpar by 8.1% and 6.5% respectively. - [The Scotsman](, 13 October

Spirit and Laurel to pioneer TV pub quizzes Spirit and Laurel pubs will be the first to offer their customers an interactive TV quiz channel from next month presented by comedian Jasper Carrott, who is also a backer of the channel provider Cash Inn. The quizzes will run on Sunday nights with weekly prizes of up to £25,000 - a total that may rise as more pubs come on board. Pubgoers will relay their answers to the studio using wireless keypads. - [The Sunday Times](, 14 October

Smoking and gaming changes hit Rank Casino operator Rank saw its share price plummet by 20% after it warned that the smoking ban in July and the curbs since September on £500 payout fruit machines in clubs had contributed to a "significant deterioration in revenues". The surprise profit warning - which followed a reasonably upbeat interim report in August - outlined how casino turnover had fallen by 9% in the past five weeks and revenues from bingo clubs had slumped by 10%. - [Financial Times]( ), 13 October

By Angela Frewin

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