A $2 billion floatation will inject Soho with much-required capital
Soho House has a reputation for being a fiercely tight-knit private members’ club with around 69,000 members around the world. It is headquartered in London but has grown to include bars, hotels and clubs around the world from Berlin and Barcelona to New York City and Dubai.
Founded in 1995 by the savvy 54-year-old Nick Jones who remains its managing director and holds a 10 per cent stake in the business, Soho House is now considering floating a $2 billion IPO in New York. The $2 billion figure would be around five times its 2015 revenue, but with its current rate of expansion, it might justify the expensive IPO. Last year, it reported its 2016 figures which included a 21 per cent increase in turnover to £273.6m, a 23 per cent year-on-year increase in earning at £31.7m and a 23.9 per cent growth in membership globally to more than 69,000. JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are believed to have been hired to act as advisors on the floatation.
The club aims to attract creative types – journalists, artists, film and advertising honchos and people from within the fashion industry. It has had a particularly icy relationship with the financial fraternity who have always felt that they’ve been unfairly shunned from the club.
Soho has struggled to raise funds in the past. Last year, a little before The Ned opened for business, Soho signed a £375 million refinancing deal to strengthen its borrowing and support its expansion. Five years ago it sold a controlling stake to US supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle for around £250 million. The IPO would help Soho House expand its global footprint. According to one report, it plans to open four-five new destinations around the world each year. There may a flip side to that expansion as well – the Soho brand risks becoming ubiquitous and even tarnish its aura of exclusivity.
For now, if you aren’t a member of Soho House and want to be a part of it – creative type or not – you could get a slice of the action with the impending IPO. A private members’ club that may not be so private anymore.