North East Connected

Merger of leisure groups continues family legacy

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 16.31.18THE OWNERS of some of Newcastle’s best known pubs, clubs and coffee shops have joined forces in an ambitious expansion plan to increase their leisure offering in Newcastle.

Entrepreneurial brothers Oliver and Harry Vaulkhard, who between them own renowned Fluid Group, Breeze Ventures and Blake’s Retail Ltd, have merged the businesses along with commercial property business 42 Street Realty.

 The combined businesses will re-launch in April to become Vaulkhard Group Ltd.

 The merging of the leisure arm of the business will see a combined turnover of £13.5million as well as bringing with it the lucrative commercial property portfolio which they inherited from their late father.

 Founder of 42 Street Realty Nigel Vaulkhard, who passed away last year, was a prominent businessman who owned and operated bars since the 1970’s including Newcastle’s Bar 42, Gotham Town, Offshore 44 and Red House, and 42nd Street in Whitley Bay.

The creation of Vaulkhard Group Ltd, which currently employs 300 staff, comes at a time of significant growth for the brothers, as they look for diversity and opportunities to invest into the development of existing and additional venues over the next three years.

Oliver Vaulkhard said: “This is a very exciting phase not only for the future of our combined venues in Newcastle but also as a family.

“As a business it made sense to join forces and work alongside each other as oppose to competing with my brother, and as a family, the Vaulkhard Group name was a perfect way to honour our late father’s legacy in the leisure industry.

“By expanding the group into commercial property gives us greater opportunity to make plans for further growth as we incorporate all aspects of the business. It is a very exciting time for us.”

The restructure, which was overseen by Newcastle law firm Sintons, will position Vaulkhard Group Ltd as one of the largest leisure groups in the North East.

Vaulkhard Group Ltd.’s portfolio includes Barluga (Newcastle and Morpeth), Perdu, Fluid Bar, The Mushroom, Quilted Camel, All Seeing Eye, Blackie Boy, Pacific, Blake’s coffee shop, Central Bean (Newcastle and Morpeth), Offshore 44, Red House, Bar 42, 42nd Street and Gotham Town.

“The collaboration could not have come at a better time for us as we are seeing a shift back into spending within the leisure industry,” added Oliver. “With the diversity of all of our venues, we wanted to develop the social element further to suit every age and taste in the city and encourage more people from outside the area to visit.

 “Our achievements to date and plans for growth would not have been possible without the hard work and loyalty of our dedicated staff. We are also very appreciative of the support from Sintons and NatWest Bank.”

Christopher Welch, partner at Sintons, oversaw the group-wide restructure and the creation of Vaulkhard Group Ltd, and also assisted with the refinancing from NatWest Bank.

He said: “We have known Oliver, and latterly Harry, for many years and have supported the growth of their business interests during that time. It is very pleasing for us now to be involved in the next stage of development for the Vaulkhard family, by bringing their very impressive leisure and property portfolio together into one group and continuing the family tradition.”

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