Living Ventures’ The Alchemist to expand after buyout

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The team behind Living Ventures are to roll out their bar concept The Alchemist after a management buyout backed by private equity.

The £13million buyout has been funded by Palatine Private Equity which also took over Living Ventures’ expanding restaurant group Gusto last year.

The equity investment from Palatine plus £6.5million development and working capital facilities from Santander will enable the business to develop its existing sites and open new venues in city-centre locations.

Living Ventures opened The Alchemist in Manchester’s Spinningfields in 2010 and has since expanded it to a second Manchester site in New York Street as well as Trinity Leeds and Bevis Marks in London (pictured). It also expanded the Spinningfields site by 2,500 square feet last year.

Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts, who founded Living Ventures in 1999, will maintain an active role in the business, with Tim taking on the position of chairman and Jeremy becoming a 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.

Beth 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.”

Tim 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.”

BDO in Manchester provided corporate finance advice to Palatine, led by M&A director Kieran Lawton and supported by James Gregson. The firm also provided financial due diligence through Chris Heatlie and Robert Dawes and tax services through Emma Suchland and Lauren Fletcher.

Shoosmiths’ team of Kieron Toal, Damien Brown, Kelly Harvey and Ruth Evans provided legal advice to Palatine, and Pinsent Masons advised management.

Palatine Private Equity is an entrepreneurial, partner-led private equity business that works with entrepreneurs and management teams in private-equity-backed businesses.

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