Thursday, May 30, 2024

Competition watchdog examining purchase of Reardens entertainment complex

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The competition watchdog has been notified of the proposed acquisition by Attestor Capital of Cork’s Reardens entertainment complex.

Reports emerged in March of the intention by the UK firm to expand its Irish bars and hospitality venues portfolio to locations outside of Dublin targeting businesses in Galway and Cork.

Attestor Capital is a private equity group with a fund of up to €900m to invest across several sectors. It has spent up to €100m to date in Dublin, with its largest purchase the Brazen Head on the city quays for approximately €16m, and the Bleeding Horse for over €9m. 

In Ireland, they commenced trading in May 2021 and currently own eight bars and two hotels in Dublin.

The Irish Examiner reported last month that a deal to acquire the Reardens complex was at an advanced stage between owner Margaret Kenneally and Attestor with the business valued at approximately €20m-€25m with one industry source placing the value as high as €30m. 

Along with the acquisition of Reardens of Washington Street and the Oliver Plunkett at the city centre’s eastern end, both to be purchased from Kmont Property Holdings Ltd, the deal also includes the nearby Chambers Bar from Radius Pie Limited. All three venues are owned by one individual, according to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

Reardens comprises a bar and three nightclubs in a four-storey building. The Oliver Plunkett comprises three bars in a three-storey building while Chambers comprises a late disco bar on the ground floor of a building at Courthouse Chambers.

Ms Kenneally acquired full ownership of the venues in 2019 following a buy-out and restructuring process. Publicly available figures also show the group is profitable, emerging strongly from the covid pandemic.

The company posted an operating loss of €555,000 for the 12-month period to the end of March 2020. The following year, helped by covid state support, it recorded an operating profit of €113,000. In 2022, it increased dramatically to €4.1m, before rising to just over €5m in 2023.

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