Michael Smurfit expected to agree sale of K Club in coming weeks

Luxury golf and hotel resort is expected to exchange hands for about €70 million

The K Club resort has been on the market since last year with an asking price of €80 million. Photograph: Alan Betson

The K Club resort has been on the market since last year with an asking price of €80 million. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Michael Smurfit is expected to agree the sale of his K Club golf resort in Co Kildare within the coming weeks as negotiations with hotelier and nursing home operator Michael Fetherston, the preferred bidder, near conclusion.

Sources suggest the five-star hotel and golf resort will change hands for about €70 million, which is below the original €80 million asking price.

“It is an ongoing process with a preferred bidder, but no definitive agreement yet,” a spokesman for Mr Smurfit said. “I don’t think it’s too far away, but it’s not sale agreed,” he said.

The club, which is situated on a 222-hectare (550-acre) estate in Straffan, contains two 18-hole championship golf courses and 134-bedroom hotel complex. The courses hosted the 2006 Ryder Cup as well as Irish and European opens.

Mr Smurfit’s spokesman said his client was selling the business because he believes “its long-term interests would be better served under new ownership”.

Under the deal, Mr Smurfit will not retain ownership of his course-side villa at the club.

Bidder

Mr Fetherston emerged as the lead bidder for the resort several weeks ago. His main business interest is the TLC nursing homes group, which owns and operates five facilities in the greater Dublin area, including Santry, Citywest and Maynooth.

TLC is a prominent supporter of golf events and is currently a main sponsor of the Irish PGA Championship, a tournament for Irish professional golfers.

Mr Fetherston has also been associated since the 1990s with the Clifton Court hotel in Dublin’s city centre.

His pub interests have in the past included a bar in Raheny in north Dublin, as well as Viva, once a popular nightspot on South William Street in Dublin city centre. A spokeswoman for TLC declined to comment.

The K Club resort has been on the market since last year with an asking price of €80 million.

According to recently filed accounts for Bishopscourt Investments, the company that runs the resort, the K Club made a loss for 2018 of €3.7 million, up from a loss of €3.2 million the previous year.

The accounts, which were signed off last month, show the K Club’s debts stand at €81 million, although about €56 million of that is owed to Mr Smurfit.

A note in the accounts also said that the directors had valued the complex during the year at €65.1 million. The accounts said that there is currently no agreement in place with any buyer.

Bishopscourt Investments, which was a 50-50 venture between Mr Smurfit and property developer Gerry Gannon, bought the K Club for €97 million in 2005. Mr Smurfit bought Mr Gannon’s 49 per cent stake in the business for a reported €40 million in 2012.