Private-equity institution Royal London Private Equity has completed a £33.5 million ($60 million) management buyout of British venues operator McKenzie Group (MKG), owner of the Academy-branded
Private-equity institution Royal London Private Equity has completed a £33.5 million ($60 million) management buyout of British venues operator McKenzie Group (MKG), owner of the Academy-branded facilities.
Royal London Private Equity (RLPE) is taking a 52% stake in MKG; the rest is held by three U.K.-based concert promoters: Metropolis Music, SJM Concerts and MCD Productions.
As a result of the transaction, RLPE director Richard Caston will join the MKG board alongside the venue company's senior management team, comprising managing director John Northcote, finance director Patrick Marling and operations director Steve Forster. Also joining the board are Bob Angus (MD of Metropolis Music), Simon Moran (MD of SJM Concerts) and Dennis Desmond (MD of MCD Productions). MKG's founding shareholders -- brewer Charles Wells and non-executive chairman Ian Howard -- will no longer have an interest in the company.
Northcote says the deal paves the way for expansion. "Our partnership with RLPE will allow us to pursue our strategic growth for the Academy brand, particularly our plans to expand our network of Academy venues in key cities across the U.K., re-invest in existing sites and develop other areas of the core business," he says in a statement.
MKG has two Carling Academy venues in London -- Islington and the flagship Brixton venue -- and one each in Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow, Scotland. The company also operates Shepherd's Bush Empire in West London and Bar Academy venues in North London and Birmingham.
MKG was formed in January 1998 following a management buyout of Brixton Academy and Shepherd's Bush Empire from restaurant group Break for the Border.