Debt-laden Clubhaus agrees to management buyout

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Clubhaus, the troubled golf course company, has agreed to a management buyout led by its managing director Charlie Parker, for just £16.4m.

The deal, which is backed by the private equity group Legal & General Ventures, will leave the company's shareholders with just £1.5m, while bondholders will receive £14.9m for bonds with a face value of £18.4m - a discount of more than 19 per cent.

Under the terms of the deal, Park Lane Holdings, the company established by Mr Parker to carry out the offer, will refinance the remaining debt with a £48m loan, which will also provide about £8m of free capital for the company.

While the deal is still subject to a shareholder vote, the company has already received assurances from 50 per cent of investors and 80 per cent of the bondholders. Norman Riddell, an independent director of Clubhaus, said: "In February we announced that although any offer would be at a significant discount to the prevailing market price, a sale of the company might still be the best way to deliver value to shareholders.

"We have considered a number of options and the process has been public for nearly seven months and involved discussions with a large number of different interested parties. Park Lane has made the most attractive proposal and we have been able to persuade bondholders to accept a discount of more than 19 per cent to the face value of their debt so that shareholders can receive some value."

Bill Priestley, a director of L&G Ventures, said: "Under the new ownership of management and funds managed by LGV, Clubhaus will benefit from the provision of the significant future funding that the business needs to continue to develop its country club format."

The deal brings to an end a difficult few years for Clubhaus. Its sale price of 0.1625p per share is just a fraction of the stock's high of more than 100p six years ago. The company's troubles began more than two years ago in December 2001, when it defaulted on its bonds, sending its share price tumbling.

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