Main Photo: Babington House, the UK country retreat of the London “houses”, that started a trend of city-based hotel companies having a “country cousin” when it opened in 1998
Date: February 2021
Name: Soho House
No. Keys: 27 locations globally
Seller: The business is owned by founder Nick Jones, who last year, cut his stake in the chain below 10 per cent and sold 1 per cent holding to majority owner Ron Burkle, a LA-based billionaire who held about 60 per cent of the business. Restauranteur Richard Caring is Soho House’s second-biggest investor.
Buyer: According to reports, Soho House is preparing a flotation in the US with a valuation estimated at around $3 billion.
The UK-based chain of private members’ clubs, which was first founded in London in 1995, is said to be plotting a New York listing, three years after abandoning its first floatation attempt in 2018.
Wall Street investment banks JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley have been hired to oversee the public offering, which is expected to raise millions of dollars to fund Soho House’s ongoing expansion plans.
The group comprises 27 sites around the world, in locations such as Barcelona, Chicago, New York and of course, London. Despite the pandemic forcing Soho House to cut 1,000 jobs among its 8,000 staff, the chain’s popularity hasn’t waned even during its forced closures.
The Times reported that only 10,000 of its 110,000 members cancelled their membership, which cost £1,750 in annual fees.
The move to go public will bring even greater attention to a hospitality group which already attracts huge media focus because of its star-studded membership base and parties, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex among its clientele.
In a nod to the firm’s struggling finances, founder and chief executive Nick Jones told the UK’s The Telegraph in November 2020 that he had expected profits before interest, tax and other costs to be £85m but that figure was now just £5m at best.
THPT Comment: Soho House has been the success story of the last 25 years and can claim to have bought shabby-chic to the hospitality industry. The loyalty of it’s client base is demonstrated by the The Times’ comment above and confident they can pull off a float at this time.
First Seen: Boutique Hotelier
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