Bord Gáis Theatre sold in €28m deal

Ex-owners of Jurys Doyle hotels John and Bernie Gallagher acquire Docklands venue

John and Bernie Gallagher outbid Live Nation, Denis Desmond’s MCD, the Ambassador Theatre Group in the UK, Dublin-based New Beginnings and several private investors to acquire the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.

John and Bernie Gallagher outbid Live Nation, Denis Desmond’s MCD, the Ambassador Theatre Group in the UK, Dublin-based New Beginnings and several private investors to acquire the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.

 

Wealthy Dublin couple John and Bernie Gallagher, who made a fortune from the sale of Jurys Doyle hotels before the property crash, have acquired the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in the south Dublin Docklands.

The couple paid in the region of €28 million for what is Ireland’s largest theatre, outbidding Live Nation who run the venue, Denis Desmond’s MCD, the Ambassador Theatre Group in the UK, Dublin-based New Beginnings and several private investors.

Agents CBRE, who handled the sale, said Crownway Entertainment – a division of Crownway Investments which is owned by the Gallaghers – had been selected as the preferred bidder for the theatre.

The selling price is a long way short of the €80 million spent on developing and launching the venue in 2010. Earlier this summer Nama appointed receivers Grant Thornton to the theatre-owning company controlled by businessman Harry Crosbie. The original funding was provided by AIB.

Mr Gallagher heads up the investment company Crownway which he controls with his wife, Bernie. She is a daughter of the late PV Doyle and with her two sisters, and the family of former chairman Walter Beatty, sold the Jurys Inn chain to Quinlan Private for €1.16 billion before the property crisis in 2005.

Dunne acquisition

The Bord Gáis theatre is seen as one of Dublin’s “trophy assets” by theatre operators, local and international investors bidding to capitalise on the improving economy and the fast-recovering Dublin property market.

The 2,111-seat venue has been run from the start by Live Nation who have been building its revenues and audiences. More than 1,180 performances have been staged since 2010. That figure is expected to approach 1,500 by the year end. Revenues have also been growing, reaching €7.6 million in 2012 and exceeding €8 million in 2013. Profits accruing to the theatre owner have not been disclosed but are expected to approach €2 million this year.

The theatre was designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind and has been the centrepiece of the urban quarter at Grand Canal Square.

It was launched as the Grand Canal Theatre but within a year Bord Gáis paid €4.5 million for the naming rights to the venue for six years.