Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Annabel's Is Sold for [Pounds Sterling]90m to Ivy Owner; End of an Era for Capital's Most Famous Society Haunt

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Annabel's Is Sold for [Pounds Sterling]90m to Ivy Owner; End of an Era for Capital's Most Famous Society Haunt

Article excerpt

LEGENDARY Mayfair nightclub Annabel's has been sold to the owner of The Ivy restaurant in a deal said to be worth [pounds sterling]90 million.

The sale was agreed in principle late last night after more than a year of negotiations. It adds yet another highprofile London trophy to the growing portfolio of clothing tycoon Richard Caring.

The deal marks the end of an era for the Berkeley Square basement venue, which has been owned by founder Mark Birley since 1963.

It was then London's first membersonly nightclub, catering for a clientele that comprised at first mainly aristocracy and royalty, including Prince Charles. In recent years it has been closely associated with London's new rich, celebrities such as Kate Moss, and politicians - most famously David Blunkett.

The nightclub was named after Mr Birley's first wife Annabel, who went on to marry Sir James Goldsmith.

It was put on the market last year after a huge family bust-up between the founder and his children, Robin and acquisition of Caring's India Jane, who had been put in charge of the day-to-day management. Robin was sacked last year and Mr Birley, 77, has been looking for a buyer ever since.

As well as Annabel's, the sale includes three other nightclubs owned by Mark Birley Holdings - Mark's Club, George and Harry's Bar.

They will join a stable of leading central London destinations topped by the Ivy, but also including Le Caprice, Scotts, J Sheekey and Daphne's.

With ownership of both The Ivy and Annabel's, Mr Caring will control London's two best known celebrity honeypots.

Mr Caring, a close friend of retail billionaire Sir Philip Green, first made his money through importing cheap clothes for British retailers from the Far East. More recently he has gained a higher profile through a succession of acquisitions in the leisure industry. …

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