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Palatine acquires The Alchemist

Palatine Private Equity has completed the GBP13m management buyout of The Alchemist, as the Manchester bar and restaurant brand looks to roll out more sites across the UK.

The deal marks Palatine’s second investment with Living Ventures Group following its buyout of Gusto last year.
The Alchemist first opened its doors in Manchester in 2010 and currently operates two venues in the city centre, as well as sites in Leeds and London. The company, which currently employs 250 staff, achieved sales of GBP11.3m last year and was recently ranked the 20th fastest growing business in the UK by The Sunday Times.
The GBP12m equity investment from Palatine and GBP6.5m development and working capital facilities from Santander will enable the business to develop its existing sites and open new venues in city centre locations. The Enterprise Value (EV) for the business is GBP13m. The Alchemist opened last summer in London and recently extended its Spinningfields, Manchester restaurant, adding an additional 2,500 square feet to meet the increased demand from customers.
Formed in 1999 by Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts, Living Ventures own some of the UK’s most talked about  brands including Australasia, Blackhouse, Gusto, The New World Trading Company, Manchester House and Artisan.
Both Bacon and Roberts will maintain an active role in the business, with Bacon taking on the position as chairman and Roberts becoming a non-executive director. As part of the investment, Palatine’s managing partner Gary Tipper and investment director Beth Houghton will both join the board of the company as non-executive directors.
Beth Houghton, investment director at Palatine Private Equity, says: “The Alchemist is a fantastic brand and has developed a strong customer base as a result of its innovative and theatrical cocktail offering. The Spinningfields site continues to be one of the highest trading units in Manchester and we look forward to introducing the brand to more city centre locations across the country.”
Tim Bacon CEO of Living Ventures  and Chairman of Alchemist, adds: “The Alchemist is a very strong brand which offers a unique customer experience.  With the investment from Palatine we will be able to make The Alchemist a recognised brand throughout the UK”
BDO in Manchester provided corporate finance advice to Palatine, led by M&A Director Kieran Lawton and supported by James Gregson. The firm also provided financial due diligence (Chris Heatlie and Robert Dawes) and tax services (Emma Suchland and Lauren Fletcher). 
Shoosmiths’ team of Kieron Toal, Damien Brown, Kelly Harvey and Ruth Evans provided legal advice to Palatine and Pinsent Masons advised management.

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