Private equity firm acquires Simmons Bars and plans further openings

Private equity firm Lonsdale Capital Partners has acquired a majority stake in Simmons Bars with plans to fund the rollout of further sites.

Simmons Bars, owned by Nightlife Leisure, has 12 bars across central London and is forecast to generate revenue of £10m in the year to 31 March 2018.

Founded in 2012 the bars are aimed at 18- to 27-year-olds with extended happy hours and a house party atmosphere.

Simmons is led by Nick Campbell, 30, who became involved in the business after moving into a flat above the first bar in Kings Cross, London. He worked without a salary to turn the bar around in return for a 50% stake before buying out the co-owner and expanding the brand.

Lonsdale, which used a loan provided by OakNorth to fund the acquisition, plans to expand the business to more than 30 bars in the short to long term. David Gasparro and James Knott, both from the equity firm, will join the Board of Simmons while Roy Ellis, who founded and led the Revolution bar chain, will join as chairman.

James Knott, director of Lonsdale Capital Partners, said: “Simmons is the go to bar chain to kick off a fun night in London.  It has a relaxed party vibe, centred around its extended happy hour, and a look and feel that sets it apart from other chains.

“In Nick Campbell we are backing a very driven and experienced entrepreneur. We will build out the team and the infrastructure around him to help continue the roll out of the concept, initially in central London but ultimately looking outside the capital. We are very much looking forward to being part of the Simmons journey.”

Nick Campbell, founder and CEO of Nightlight Leisure said: “To this day Simmons has been solely funded by the income generated by the bars so the investment from Lonsdale is not only a major milestone for the business, but an exciting step towards the ambitious plans we have for the future.

“Our goal is to triple the number of Simmons bars in London and to begin our expansion into other UK cities within the next three years. We are looking forward to working with Lonsdale and believe they will offer a great platform to support the growth and development of the Simmons group.”

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