London wine bar and restaurant business Balls Brothers has been sold to Novus Leisure for up to £7.85m after falling into administration late last year.
The sale of the company, which trades under the names Balls Brothers and Lewis and Clarke, was secured by insolvency practitioners Zolfo Cooper, who were called in as administrators in November last year.
Under the terms of the deal, Novus will acquire 17 out of the 19 bars currently in operation, 11 of them Balls Brothers outlets and six trading as Lewis and Clarke.
Novus, which already operates 38 bars and clubs throughout the West End and City of London, said it would ‘contemporise’ the Balls Brothers brand, refurbishing bars, overhauling the food and drinks offer and increasing trading opportunities.
The company said the acquisition was in line with its strategy of focusing on its ‘heartland’ of London nightlife.
Nick Cropper, partner at Zolfo Cooper, said the administrators were ‘delighted’ with the sale, which he said had preserved the jobs of more than 300 employees.
Balls Brothers went into administration last November amid mounting debts reported to be about £7m and after rumoured crisis talks with lender Barclays.
Its well-known London bars and restaurants include Mulligan’s of Mayfair, The Sterling and Hay’s Galleria.
Written by Richard Woodard