Monday 28 December 2020 10:42 am

Soho House founder sells $20m of stake after pandemic hit

The founder and chief executive of Soho House has cashed in $20m (£14.8m) of his stake after the private members’ club was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nick Jones, who established the exclusive club in 1995, has sold a one per cent stake to Ron Burkle, the US billionaire businessman who already owns roughly 60 per cent of the company.

The sale was completed at the same £2bn valuation at which the group raised $100m this summer, the Times reported.

The deal leaves Jones with a stake of less than 10 per cent. Behind Burkle, Soho House’s second biggest investor Richard Caring, the tycoon behind Annabel’s and the Ivy restaurant chain.

Soho House, which is billed as an exclusive haunt for bigwigs in the creative industries, has expanded rapidly from its first venue on Greek Street and now operates 27 clubs around the world.

But like many hospitality businesses it has suffered a blow to trading as a result of the pandemic and has forecast a steep decline in profit for the full year.

The group has cut 1,000 jobs from its global workforce of 8,000, cut ties with suppliers and asked landlords for rent holidays after lockdown measures caused temporary closures.

Despite this, Jones has insisted that Soho House will bounce back following the pandemic.

“If we were desperate for cash, we would let in our huge waiting lists,” he said in an interview with the Telegraph last month.

The exclusive members’ club currently has a waiting list of roughly 50,000 people.

The sale strengthens the control of LA billionaire Burkle, who controls investment firm Yucaipa.

Burkle hit the headlines last week after he snapped up Michael Jackson’s infamous Neverland ranch for $22m.

The 2,700-acre estate, which boasts a theme park and zoo, was originally listed for $100m but saw its price repeatedly slashed after failing to attract buyers.