Kinsey to form new nightclub venture with Springwood bars deal

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The Independent Online

The former chief executive of First Leisure, the entertainment group founded by Lord Delfont, is to create a new nightclub group with the rump of the old Springwood estate, which collapsed into administration last month.

The former chief executive of First Leisure, the entertainment group founded by Lord Delfont, is to create a new nightclub group with the rump of the old Springwood estate, which collapsed into administration last month.

Paul Kinsey has teamed up with three former Springwood directors to acquire 14 nightclubs from Ernst & Young, including the Zanzibar chain, for an undisclosed sum. Springwood's bankers pulled the plug on the group created by Adam Page, leaving shareholders nursing heavy losses.

Mr Kinsey, who spent most of his career at First Leisure before a spat with its private equity owner Candover prompted his departure early last year, is keeping two of the three former Springwood brands: Zanzibar and Mode.

The units, acquired by his newly created company Nexum Leisure, are a mixture of freehold and leasehold sites, all of which are profitable, he added. He said Nexum would succeed where Springwood had failed because all 14 sites were large-capacity venues that made enough money on Friday and Saturday nights to make up for quiet mid-week evenings. Nexum would also be free of the tail of underperforming sites that dragged Springwood into administration.

The deal brings Mr Kinsey full circle regarding one of the sites - an old First Leisure club in Darlington - that he sold to Springwood as part of a package of clubs in August 2002. He denied that the other former First Leisure sites, which he is not acquiring, were to blame for the demise of Mr Page's group.

"I didn't take the decision to buy. I only took the decision to sell," Mr Kinsey said.

Nexum will also manage eight other former Springwood sites on behalf of the receivers, while the five remaining units will be closed, he added.

At First Leisure, Mr Kinsey took over from Michael Grade, who broke up the leisure group created by his uncle that once ran Blackpool Tower, tenpin bowling, bingo and health clubs.

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