Vodka duo strike gold with £42.5m Alchemy deal

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The Independent Online

Inventive Leisure, which runs Revolution vodka bars, agreed to be acquired by Alchemy Partners yesterday in a £42.5m deal which will deliver multimillion-pound windfalls for Inventive's founders.

Alchemy, the private-equity firm, is backing the management team led by Roy Ellis, the chief executive. He stands to make £4.5m from his 10.7 per cent stake in the company, but will invest £2.6m in the new private company. His co-founder, Neil Macleod, the sales and marketing director, will get £5.3m from his 12.5 per cent holding but will roll over £2.8m. Sean Curran, the finance director, is set to invest £246,000. All three executives will stay on to run the business.

Alchemy is paying 178p a share in cash, a 45 per cent premium to the closing price on 5 September, the day before Inventive announced it had received an offer from the private-equity firm. The group also received indicative offers from the bar and nightclub operator Luminar and Regent Inns, the bar group behind the Walkabout chain. Both decided not to proceed with their bids after scrutinising Inventive's books.

Inventive, set up in 1991 and floated on the Alternative Investment Market at 95p in 2000, runs 40 Revolution vodka bars and four unbranded bars.

Alchemy recently acquired 178 high street bars from Spirit Group for £177m but plans to keep the business separate from the Revolution bars. It is in the process of recruiting a management team for the former Spirit business, which is now called the Tattershall Castle Group, after the boat moored on the Thames which boasts four bars.

Alchemy's bid for Inventive was recommended by John Green, the non-executive chairman, and Nick Stagg, an independent director, who formed a committee to look after the interests of independent shareholders. Mr Green said yesterday: "We got a good price for shareholders. It compares well with other deals in the sector."

Inventive recently opened two bars in Plymouth and Leeds, and is in the process of opening bars in Liverpool, Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, and Sutton in Surrey.

Shares in Inventive, which have doubled this year, closed up 8p at 178p yesterday.

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