Consumer & Retail Services
Merlin has an established market-leading practice in advising companies in the Leisure & Entertainment sector.
We advise both publicly listed and privately owned companies, and many of our relationships with clients are very long-standing. Our clients include Fuller, Smith & Turner plc, London’s only remaining traditional family brewer and pub company; Center Parcs, the UK’s leading short-break holiday company; Regent Inns plc, an operator of entertainment bars, comedy clubs and branded restaurants throughout the UK; and David Lloyd Leisure Group, the leading UK racquets, health and fitness group. In the past, we have also advised Virgin Active (health clubs), Holmes Place (health clubs, acquired by Bridgepoint, later sold to Virgin), Admiral Taverns (pubs), Hanover International (hotels), ClubCorp (US country clubs and golf courses); Cliveden Group (hotels), and Elegant Hotels.
Our recent experience in the sector has included profile-raising for David Lloyd Leisure in advance of the company submitting its bid for Esporta business, and strategic advice to Center Parcs (which is majority owned by Blackstone) on its compliance with the Walker guidelines on reporting and disclosure by portfolio companies of private equity firms.
It has also included providing strategic advice to clients on various M&A and restructuring transactions, crisis management, and responding to the impact on the pub sector in particular of the smoking ban, the wider imposition of onerous government legislation and, most recently, of the “credit crunch” and resultant significant consumer spending slowdown.