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Revolution Bars secretly discusses selling and closing venues

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London-listed leisure group Revolution Bars is preparing to close a quarter of its establishments as it talks to investors about an emergency fundraising and puts itself up for sale.

Sky News has learned that Revolution, which owns Peach Pubs and Cuba’s Revolucion chain, is considering axing around 20 of its worst-performing bars.

In recent days, the company has also been sounding out to investors about a fundraising appeal aimed at raising around £10 million, more than the company’s current market capitalization.

An investor contacted about the potential stock sale said it appeared to depend on the successful implementation of a restructuring plan to close locations.

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Without these measures, the company’s survival would be in doubt, with insolvency the only likely alternative, they added.

A significant number of jobs will be at risk from the closures, which are expected to focus on the Revolution brand chain.

Around 2,500 people work for the group, which entered London for the second time in 2015.

It was previously owned by private equity investor Alchemy Partners.

It was not clear how many redundancies would result from the restructuring, if it went ahead, but a leisure sector source said there would be “in the hundreds”.

Cavendish, the investment bank, would work on raising capital.

An accelerated sales process aimed at dissipating interest from potential buyers of the company is also expected to be launched in the coming days.

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Potential buyers could include pub giant Stonegate, owner of the Slug & Lettuce and Be At One chains, or investors in financial recovery.

Revolution is now a small fish in stock market terms, with a valuation of less than £7m, but it remains a significant player in the UK’s night-time economy.

The company announced in January that it would close eight locations, blaming declining spending by younger consumers.

In a trading update later in the month, it warned of profit but said it had enjoyed its best Christmas trading period in four years.

“Revolution’s younger customers are still feeling the disproportionate effect of the cost of living crisis,” said Rob Pitcher, general manager of Revolution Bars.

“Looking ahead, business interest rates and the national living wage will increase significantly in April 2024 and we therefore had to consider that, with inflation remaining high, the resumption of Revolution activity, our most big brand, will take longer than previously anticipated.”

Shares in Revolution Bars closed unchanged on Monday at just 2.9p.

They have fallen 57% in the last 12 months.

A spokesperson for the Revolution declined to comment Monday evening.

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