Revolution Bars Group’s Lease Exit and Rents Cuts

Shoosmiths acted for Revolution Bars Group to exit of its property leases – including Lancaster, Wolverhampton and Wood Street, Liverpool - and cut overall rents at four further venues while increasing their terms to 25 years.

The Group’s 75 bars in the UK are known for their premium drinks experience plus food and entertainment. Its Revolution brand is focused on young adults, with Revolucion de Cuba appealing to a broader age group.
Shoosmiths drew on its teams from across real estate, banking, employment, property litigation, tax and company secretarial to work with Revolution’s landlord, real estate investment company, Aprirose and its lender who are both based outside the UK. Once detailed terms were agreed, the deal completed in 11 days just before Revolution’s trading update on the London Stock Exchange.
The changes to these nine sites will save Revolution Bars Group £1.2 million per year and enable it to continue to adapt to changing customer habits in the leisure sector.

An Interview with Chris George & Kirsty Chalkley at Shoosmiths

How do you navigate a deal when the parties are outside your jurisdiction and when you need several different legal teams involved? Do you have any tips/rules you follow here?

The best advice is to consider the implications early, discuss them with all parties early and get organised. For example, issues such as geographical location, availability of signatories, movement of documents and monies and agreeing to complete on the basis of electronic documents or with electronic signatures are all significant factors. It is also important to remember that in all jurisdictions the reputation and responsiveness of legal firms and advisers can vary hugely and so dealing with a comparable firm with equivalent expertise and experience in cross-jurisdiction transactional work makes the whole process infinitely easier to manage. We use our connections to the World Services Group to ensure that this is the case wherever possible.

How do you ensure that the action taken by clients (in this case, Revolution Bars Group), is the best route to take?

Ultimately, sophisticated clients who are well established in their sector will know which direction they want to take as a business. For us at Shoosmiths, we pride ourselves in forging long-lasting, collaborative relationships which centre around knowing and understanding our clients’ businesses inside out. In this way we are trusted advisers acting as an extension to their internal teams, using our expertise to provide recommendations, input, advice and analysis as to the benefits and risks of various possible courses of action in order to attain their business objectives.

How does this deal reflect the current climate for companies such as Revolution?

All high-street-based businesses were facing significant headwinds even before the current Coronavirus outbreak and the leisure and late-night entertainment sectors were no exception. The habits of consumers are changing at a rapid pace but those businesses which are continuing to thrive are those which are alive to these challenges and anticipate, embrace and adapt accordingly. In the case of companies that operate a primarily leasehold property base, this means looking at opportunities to future-proof the portfolio, for example by negotiating lease re-gears and sometimes surrenders of leases of sites that no longer serve the changing needs of the business and its customers. Continuously reviewing and streamlining the portfolio in this way, paves the way for an agile business which is much better placed to succeed in an increasingly dynamic market.

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