May 18th, 2015

Palatine buys out Alchemist brand in £13m deal

Palatine buys out Alchemist brand in £13m deal

By Neil Gerrard, The Caterer.

Palatine Private Equity has completed a £13m management buyout of Living Ventures' Alchemist bar business.

The deal comes as the brand, which first opened its doors in Manchester in 2010 and also has sites in Leeds and London, plans to open more sites across the country.

The business currently employs 250 staff and achieved sales of £11.3m last year, as well as being ranked the 20th fastest-growing business in the UK by the Sunday Times.

It is Palatine's second investment with Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts' Living Ventures Group, following its buyout last year of Gusto.

In addition to a £12m equity investment from Palatine, the business will have £6.5m development and working capital facilities from Santander in order to help it develop existing sites and open in new city centre locations.

The Alchemist most recently launched in Bevis Marks in the City of London and has also extended its Manchester site in Spinningfields by an additional 2,500 sq ft.

Bacon and Roberts, who last year won the Group Restaurateur of the Year award at the Cateys, will maintain an active role in the business, with Bacon as chairman and Roberts as non-executive director.

As part of the investment, Palatine's managing partner Gary Tipper and investment director Beth Houghton will both join the board of the company as non-executive directors.

Houghton, investment director at Palatine Private Equity, said: "The Alchemist is a fantastic brand and has developed a strong customer base as a result of its innovative and theatrical cocktail offering. The Spinningfields site continues to be one of the highest trading units in Manchester and we look forward to introducing the brand to more city centre locations across the UK."

Bacon, CEO of Living Ventures, added: "The Alchemist is a very strong brand which offers a unique customer experience. With the investment from Palatine we will be able to make The Alchemist a recognised brand throughout the UK."

Bacon and Roberts founded Living Ventures in 1999. It now owns the Australasia, Blackhouse, Gusto, The New World Trading Company, Manchester House and Artisan brands.

Tags: 13m deal, Palatine, The Alchemist
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The Alchemist is open for morning coffee, brunch, lunch and dinner offering  everything Living Ventures are renowned for – excellent service, innovative cocktails and great food.