Grade puts night clubs and bars up for sale
Saturday 08 May 1999
First Leisure's chief executive, Michael Grade, yesterday denied suggestions that yesterday's plan to sell the bars and keep the clubs represented a U-turn in strategy since last week.
Mr Grade said the group had already been studying plans to spin-off the night clubs business for some time when the opportunity to explore a merger with Cannons came along.
He also held out the prospect of returning some cash to shareholders if the nightclubs were sold for a reasonable price.
However, he insisted that a sale was just one option. Merging the business with another operator was also a possibility, he said.
Analysts said that the businesses being sold could raise pounds 200m.
Mr Grade, who headed up Channel Four television before he took over as chief executive of First Leisure two years ago, said: "This is part of a long process that has been going on since I took over ... We have sold the bingo and the resorts. While all the three businesses we have are very good businesses, they have very little in common."
He added: "There comes a point in any business where you have to pull it up by the roots and re-examine it so you don't do the same again and again. That way lies stagnation."
To reinforce the argument for getting out of night clubs, the group yesterday put out a trading statement for the six months ending on 30 April showing revenues down 6 per cent in both the night clubs and family entertainment divisions. However, health clubs have been booming, with like for like sales up 14 per cent in the first half.
Mr Grade said he felt that the move would lead to more transparency and more focus. "We made some good calls in health and futures, aiming for the top end of the market - the large and family oriented clubs which are coming on-stream."
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 3 Young Preston fan has play-off hero Jermaine Beckford's shirt stolen from him at Wembley - which then appears for sale on Gumtree
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
How China's richest man Li Hejun lost $15bn in an hour - and made a fortune
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Snoop Dogg on why he doesn't regret displaying misogyny towards women
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...