Private members' club Soho House strides towards $3bn float with US filing

Friday 9th April 2021 02:00 BST

Sky News has learnt that Soho House this week submitted a confidential filing for an initial public offering (IPO) in New York that will value it at more than $3bn (£2.1bn).

Banking sources said on Thursday that the flotation, which will crystallise a big paper windfall for the company's founder, Nick Jones, could reach a valuation of as much as $4bn (£2.9bn).

The filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the first formal step towards Soho House making a long-awaited public markets debut on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

The company considered an IPO two years ago but opted to raise capital privately instead.

Despite the pandemic forcing many of its clubs around the world to close, the business has proved to be resilient, with barely 10% of its 110,000 members cancelling their subscription.

Soho House's plan to go public on the NYSE represents a blow to the City, which had harboured hopes of attracting it to the London market, but reflects the fact that it is majority-owned by the American businessman Ron Burkle.

The company has opened venues at breakneck speed, with outposts now from Miami to Mumbai, as well as a collection of clubs in Britain, its home market.

Soho House members pay well over £1,000-a-year in fees to gain access to its venues, as well as discounted hotel rooms and consumer products sold under the Cowshed brand.

It has also launched a chain of Soho Works workspaces which are broadly comparable to the likes of WeWork.

Originally conceived by founder Mr Jones as a networking venue for executives in the advertising, media and creative industries, a Soho House membership has become a status symbol for international executives working in sectors including music, fashion and broadcasting.

Mr Jones, who is married to the broadcaster Kirsty Young, opened its first site on Greek Street in Central London in 1995.

The company prides itself on offering members a discreet and relaxed environment in buildings often housing a hotel, restaurants, gym and other facilities.

Its clubs have become a home-from-home for A-list celebrities, with the likes of Kate Moss and Eddie Redmayne among those photographed emerging from Soho House parties.

Soho House's breakneck expansion has been facilitated by a series of deals, including the sale by Mr Jones of a controlling stake in the company to Richard Caring, the textiles tycoon, in 2008.

That transaction valued the company at about £130m, with a subsequent takeover by Ron Burkle, a Californian supermarket billionaire, four years later attributing a £250m price tag to Soho House.

Both Mr Jones and Mr Caring have remained as shareholders since then?, with the former continuing to run the business as its chief executive.

Soho House raised another chunk of private funding last summer, but has decided that the capital required for future growth is better-accessed via public markets.

JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley are leading the Soho House IPO.

A spokesman for Soho House declined to comment.

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