Buy-out funds dance around nightclub operator Deltic

The nightclub operator has struggled to stave off collapse following the Government's eight-month closure of all clubs

Buy-out funds are weighing bids for the UK’s biggest nightclub operator after the pandemic forced the company into an emergency sale.

Private equity firms Greybull Capital and Aurelius have been circling Deltic Group ever since it hired accountancy firm BDO to find a buyer last month.

The owner of Oceana and Pryzm risks running out of cash after being squeezed by the Government’s eight-month closure of nightclubs.

Deltic has attempted to stave off collapse by cutting 1,000 jobs - around half of its workforce- and reopening some clubs as bars. The company has also been mulling a company voluntary arrangement, a type of rescue deal that eases costs and debts.

Chief executive Peter Marks said it had received a number of approaches and was “very pleased by the high level of serious interest”.

Deltic is owned by its management team and is behind 52 UK venues, including brands such ATIK, Bar&Beyond and Vinyl.

The sale comes as the Nightimes Industries Association threatened legal action in October against the Government’s three-tier lockdown system. The industry’s largest trade body said the measures to close pubs and bars would have a “catastrophic impact” on late night businesses.

Munich-based Aurelius has backed a string of companies across Europe, including Ideal Shopping Direct. Greybull Capital, which has a reputation for swooping on under-pressure firms, was linked to a bailout of airline Virgin Atlantic in May.

Greybull would not comment on the Deltic sale, but a spokesman said the crisis was “creating significant difficulties for many companies that would otherwise be viable.” Aurelius and BDO declined to comment.