‘Disappointed’ Nightcap walks away from Revolution Bars takeover pursuit

Proposal would have brought Belfast’s Revolución De Cuba venue under new merged ownership

Cafe Revolucion De Cuba on Arthur Street was the former headquarters of Dunville & Co in Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann.
Revolución De Cuba on Belfast's Arthur Street. Picture by Mal McCann.

Bar owner Nightcap has walked away from a potential rescue deal for troubled rival Revolution Bars.

Nightcap said it had “disappointment” its merger proposal was rejected by the larger hospitality chain earlier this week.

On Tuesday Revolution Bars, which also runs the Revolución de Cuba and Peach Pubs brands, rejected the proposed offer, warning it was “incapable of being delivered”.

It comes after Revolution launched a sale process and significant restructuring plans last month amid efforts to stay afloat.

The company’s restructuring plans include £12.5 million fundraising and the closure of 18 venues.

The group’s hospitality portfolio includes Revolución de Cuba on Belfast’s Arthur Street, which is leased from JD Wetherspoon.

Sarah Willingham, Nightcap chief executive officer
Sarah Willingham, Nightcap chief executive officer.

Revolution had said on Tuesday the non-binding proposal from Nightcap earlier this month did not include the proposed fundraising and would instead require two separate funding rounds from Nightcap.

On Thursday, Nightcap said its offer did not include a fixed fundraising amount and “at no point did Nightcap receive legal advice to suggest that this non-binding proposal was not capable of being delivered”.

Nightcap, which runs 46 UK bars in total including the Cocktail Club and Dirty Martini chains, said its move would have seen the proposed £12.5 million fundraising replaced by a merger of the two listed firms.

It then proposed a fresh fundraising as well as the implantation of other parts of Revolution’s restructuring plan.

Nightcap said it also planned to sell Revolution’s Peach Pubs business.

The Sarah Willingham-led business said it will continue to access acquisition opportunities in the hospitality sector.

Nightcap said: “The board also believes that opportunities for further consolidation in the late night sector will continue to arise in the coming year as the sector moves from incremental M&A (merger and acquisition) activity to a fundamental structural transformation as many of the operators in the sector are going through significant change.”