Lonsdale Capital to double down on £10m investment in Simmons Bars


Nick Campbell (left) will stay on as CEO while new owners Lonsdale will power growth, according to James Knott (right) (Source: Simmons)

Lonsdale Capital Partners will double down its investment in Simmons Bars after buying up a majority stake from its owner.

Londsdale director James Knott told City A.M. that the private equity firm wanted to put as much as its original investment, which is estimated to be about £10m, into helping the business grow.

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Owner Nick Campbell has sold the majority of the business to Lonsdale in a deal which will see the chain of London bars expand to 30 sites in the next three years, including one in the City. He stays on as chief executive and a major stakeholder.

Peter Ellis, the founder of Revolution Bars, is also coming on as chairman.

"We are a deep pocketed backer," said Knott. He added that the investment would focus on the first 12-18 months of expansion, after which it is hoped that the increased revenue will begin to fund the further expansion.

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Simmons, which currently has 12 bars in London including ones at Liverpool Street and Tower Bridge, is well-known for its special offers on drinks, making it popular with both students and the after-work crowd.

Knott said this made it attractive as an operator in a robust part of the market. "You're more likely to have people trading down to come to Simmons rather than people going to our competitors."

"It's very buoyant in the bar industry at the moment," he added.

Nick Campbell said plans for a bar in the heart of the City were underway, though no site has yet been settled on.

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