The leisure sector is experiencing a period of accelerated change and expansion in response to the appearance of new technologies and changing consumer behaviours and expectations.
Our leisure sector team keeps up to date with all industry developments to provide practical and commercially informed legal solutions. Our clients range from cinema operators, hotel chains, competitive socialising operators, restaurants and pub groups to developers, financiers and operators of sports, cinema and leisure facilities.
Drawing on the expertise of our diverse firm, our team provides advice on a wide range of legal and business challenges.
Our strength in corporate work means that we can advise clients on the structuring, financing and successful execution of major corporate transactions such as acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures and refinancings. More broadly, we support clients across all areas of commercial activity including planning, management, franchising, and operational and promotional matters.
Our real estate specialists help investors, developers and end-users with the acquisition, development, construction and funding of leisure-related developments, both on individual properties and across large portfolios. And in all these activities, our tax team provides advice and expertise to ensure that transactions are structured and managed tax efficiently, particularly in relation to property tax.
Regularly retained by owners, operators, investment vehicles and developers to act on complex projects, throughout the UK. Serves clients across the full gamut of the market including those with gaming, cinema, hotel and restaurant assets. Advised Global Gaming Ventures on the acquisition of two casino properties in England worth a combined £32.6 million. Acted for Starboard Hotels on its acquisition of a portfolio of Ibis hotels from Accor through a purchase and franchise agreement. Julian Lewis and Stephen Lewis are key client contacts.
Typically acts for developers and owners in the sector. Advises on a range of asset types including cinemas, restaurants and sports facilities. “They’re a very hands-on firm whose focus is on generating client loyalty.”
“They have a commercial approach and look for longevity in their client relationships. They are down-to-earth, approachable and good at explaining things in a non-legal way.”
“They have always been very efficient. They are very responsive and we like the individuals there.”
Advised Merlin Entertainments on projects at Alton Towers Resort, including new themed accommodation lodges and several treehouses. Represented Four Pillars Hotels in the disposal of its portfolio, which includes six hotels in Oxfordshire, to a Starwood Capital-affiliated fund. Head of department Julian Lewis is a key contact.
The group is well known for its work in publishing and other media but also has strength in other sectors like leisure and resources. Their ability to get deals done is well recognised by clients, who comment: “They are clever guys, but their great attribute is their ability to find a solution when problems arise”. Known to “drive deals over the finish line”, Anthony Vaughan has extensive experience within the area of corporate hotels and leisure.
This firm has strengthened its position in the last year, and has benefited from an increase in restructuring and refinancing work. It has made some significant client gains in the hotels sector, including the likes of the Abba Hotels Group and Splendid Hotel Group. The real estate team is praised as “very detailed, very thorough and very well integrated with other teams within the firm”. In terms of client service, clients comment: “They’ve just been very efficient: they’ve been very thorough, they turn things around speedily, and we’ve no reason to look anywhere else”.
Represents a broad array of clients, including significant hotel chains, luxury resorts, leisure facilities and restaurant groups. Offers international expertise and experienced in handling cross-border transactions in Europe. Strengths: “Thorough and accessible. They have a good breadth of experienced partners and all the necessary specialists”. Assisted real estate investor group Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners with the sale of the Hotel Saint-Barth Isle De France to Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Represented Chorus Group in its construction contract related to the completion of the Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard, London.
Regularly retained by owners, operators, investment vehicles and developers to act on complex projects throughout the UK. Areas of expertise include funding, real estate, developments and transactional work. Serves clients across the full gamut of the market, including those with gaming, cinema, hotel and restaurant assets. Acted for 4C Hotels on negotiating a franchise agreement with Hilton for new boutique hotel brand Canopy. Julian Lewis is a key contact.
Fladgate LLP’s ‘strong team with strength from partners to associates’ is ‘very experienced in the leisure sector’, where key players include the ‘very commercial and deal orientated’ Stephen Lewis, and Mark Saunders, who is ‘market leading on title and lease issues and excellent at large transactions, especially cinemas’. Saunders recently advised Odeon on the opening of a cinema in the new BH2 leisure complex in Bournemouth. The practice is also noted as being ‘a very good source for guidance in difficult transactional situations’, and in one highlight Nick Mumby acted for Aldgate Tower Investments on its £346m sale to a joint venture between China Life and Brookfield Property Partners.
Other names to note include the highly recommended Gideon Dabby-Joory, who represented an offshore private family trust on the £35m disposal of a brownfield site for development in St Pancras, and senior associate Amanda Hado-Bodfield, who ‘gets the deal done’. In the retail sector, high-end tenant clients include Roche Bobois and Jurlique UK. The ‘very insightful’ Richard Reuben leads the team.