Soho House to raise £200m to fund expansion

Madeline Ratcliffe
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Soho House founder Nick Jones with Benedict Cumberbatch (Source: Getty)
Soho House is trying to raise £200m in its second financing drive in two years.

The group, which owns Shoreditch House and has 15 outposts around the world, including the recently opened Soho Farmhouse in Oxford, is looking to raise the funds to open six new houses and up to 30 restaurants over the next two years.

In 2013, Soho House issued a highyield, five-year bond for £115m, despite only having earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of £19m.

The hospitality group announced to investors earlier this month it was looking to refinance bonds due in 2018, and use the money to increase its cash balance, and repay debts.

However, Reuters reported on Friday that the planned high-interest £200m bond issue had been pulled after financiers raised doubts over the company's high leverage and limited cash balance. Citing investors at the meetings, Reuters said the economics of paying the £9.9m redemption premium before 2018 made little sense, and investors "have more economic sense than to lend a business with almost 9x leverage and limited free cashflow".

Moody's said in a note last week that it expected the refinancing, if it went ahead, to increase the company's leverage to 8.2-times the company's Ebitda, which it put at £44.5m as of 30 June.

Longer term, Moody's predicted the interest on current notes would see the group's cash balance drop to £10m-£15m by the end of the year, and said it expected the group to remain cash-flow negative for the next couple of years.

The company was founded by Nick Jones in 1995. Richard Caring, owner of Le Caprice, and Ronald Burkle, whose private equity firm Yucaipa Companies bought Tesco's US business in 2013, are also shareholders.

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