Press Up calls a halt to €50m share sale plan

Decision to abandon process to dispose of 45% stake follows 2018 flirtation with IPO

Stella Theatre in Rathmines. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Stella Theatre in Rathmines. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Irish hospitality group Press Up Entertainment, which is owned by Paddy McKillen jnr and other investors, has abandoned a plan to raise up to €50 million through the disposal of a 45 per cent stake in its business to investors.

While the sale, which was being handled by stockbroker Goodbody, saw a number of UK-based parties progress to a second round of bidding for the pub, restaurant and cinema chain shareholding last August, McKillen jnr and his business partner, Matt Ryan, called a halt to the process in recent weeks.

It is understood the decision was informed by Mr McKillen and Mr Ryan’s view that their vision for the company was not one that their prospective suitors shared. A spokeswoman for Press Up Entertainment declined to comment.

Press Up had been looking to secure €45 million-€50 million for a 45 per cent stake in the group, a figure based on the chain’s enterprise value of more than €100 million.

The intended share sale had related to Press Up’s trading operations only and did not involve any of the properties in which its 46 bars, restaurants and hotels operate. The company’s portfolio, which includes the Stella Theatre, Angelina’s, Captain Americas, Elephant & Castle and the Dean hotel, are mostly located in buildings delivered by Mr McKillen jnr and Mr Ryan’s development business, Oakmount, which is operated independently of Press Up.

Clarence Hotel

Its foremost venue, the Clarence Hotel, meanwhile, is located in a building owned by Bono and the Edge of U2, and Paddy McKillen snr.

Paddy McKillen jnr holds a 50 per cent stake in Press Up, while his property developer father has a 25 per cent holding. The remaining stake is split equally between Mr Ryan and Liam Cunningham, a long-standing associate of Paddy McKillen snr.

The sale to investors would have seen the stakes of the current shareholders reduced on a pro-rata basis to 27.5 per cent in the case of Mr McKillen jnr and to 13.75 per cent in the case of Mr McKillen snr. Mr Ryan and Mr Cunningham would have shared the remaining 13.75 per cent in the company.

This is the second time in two years that Press Up chiefs have stepped back from the opportunity to raise fresh equity.

In early 2018, Press Up engaged Goodbody to assess its funding options, including an initial public offering (IPO) of shares on the stock market, with a view to raising as much as €60 million.

The company held early-stage meetings with investors in Dublin and London in preparation for a potential flotation but did not proceed with the IPO.