Caring weighs Ivy sale amid post-pandemic profits boom | Business News


Britain’s best-known restaurateur is considering selling a big stake in The Ivy Collection, one of the world’s best-known restaurant concepts, in a deal that analysts believe could see it valued at around £1bn.

Sky News has learnt that Richard Caring has begun exploring the sale of a chunk of his hospitality empire in the coming months.

The billionaire businessman dubbed ‘the king of Mayfair’ has appointed bankers at HSBC, which is a big lender to his companies, to advise on the process.

Sources cautioned on Thursday that it was not certain that Mr Caring would decide to sell a controlling stake in The Ivy and Ivy Asia concepts.

His other restaurants, which include London’s Scott’s, Sexy Fish and J Sheekey, are understood to be excluded from the prospective process.

The private members’ clubs owned by Mr Caring, which include Annabel’s and Mark’s Club in Mayfair, are also not included.

The Ivy was founded at a site near Leicester Square in 1917 by two friends, Abel Giandolini and Mario Gallati, with the latter then going on to open Le Caprice, which was for decades one of the capital’s most popular restaurants among A-list celebrities before it was closed in 2020.

Mr Caring took over Caprice Holdings in 2005 in a deal which included many of London’s most prominent restaurants.

He has since embarked on a wildly successful expansion of The Ivy brand, taking it to dozens of locations across London and the south of England.

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The businessman has also opened branches of The Ivy in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and York, as well as cities in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

He has also focused on expanding The Ivy Asia, a newer concept which numbers fewer than ten restaurants but which he aims to expand.

Mr Caring’s investments have paid off, with record sales and profits in the latest year for which results have been published.

Accounts filed at Companies House for Troia (UK) Restaurants for the period ending 1 January 2023, which comprises The Ivy Collection, showed turnover of almost £303m, and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £54.8m.

In 2019, he sold a 25% stake in Caprice Holdings to Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar, in a deal reportedly worth £200m.

Mr Caring has also been a shareholder in the company which owns the Soho House chain of private members’ clubs, and is now widely regarded as the most successful investor in upmarket hospitality assets of his generation.

His initial wealth, however, was made in the clothing trade, and saw him become a long-term business associate of Sir Philip Green, the former Arcadia owner.

At one point, Mr Caring became involved in the tussle for control of the restaurant group behind The Wolseley, which was eventually taken over by a Thai hospitality company.

Jeremy King, one of the most respected London restaurateurs of his generation, is now planning a comeback to the capital’s premium restaurant scene, including at the site vacated by Le Caprice.

Selling a big stake in The Ivy Collection would crystallise a huge windfall for Mr Caring, with the top end of the London hospitality industry faring resiliently despite Britain’s stuttering economy.

Mr Caring did not respond to messages left on his mobile phone and sent by email on Thursday, while a spokesman for Caprice Holdings declined to comment.