De Vere Venues has a property portfolio recently valued at over £280m, comprising 30 venues and over 3000 bedrooms across the UK. The business is also well-invested – some £112m over the past seven years – and is expected to deliver £28m in EBITDA this year.
A statement from De Vere Group reads: “The Group has concluded that it should seek to realise the enhanced value of its De Vere Venues division through a sale.
“The Group has mandated Lazard to conduct a sale process which comes after a number of unsolicited approaches from interested parties.
“The Group is not under any pressure to undertake a disposal and will only conclude a transaction which is in the best interests of all stakeholders.”
De Vere Venues, which is chaired by Andrew Coppel, accommodates around 700,000 conference meeting delegates every year, with a predominantly corporate customer base – 80 per cent of revenues are B2B, of which 84 per cent is repeat business.
Event market upturn?
Late last year, the business’s chief executive Tony Dangerfield told BigHospitality that opportunities did exist for companies with a good USP looking to replicate the success of De Vere Venues;predicting an upturn in business bookings in 2013.
“You have to be unique and different,” said Dangerfield, who has headed up De Vere Venues since 2006. “You have to have an offering that steals market share. Be different, find your differentiator, believe in it and focus on it and it will usually succeed.
“The event market has been tough for three years. That doesn’t mean it has been backwards – it has just been tough.
“I would like to think that towards Q3 next year we will see a little bit of a change in the economy and with that comes a lot of communication meetings that big corporations hold to communicate good news in change.”
De Vere was one of the hospitality businesses with a large property portfolio to be swept under the auspices of Lloyds during the recession, with debts of £1.1bn. As well as the meetings and events business, the company owns a portfolio of hotels and 25 De Vere Village Urban Resort health clubs. Lazard has been appointed to advise on the sale of De Vere Venues.