OakNorth completes loan to Lonsdale Capital Partners

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OakNorth Office

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – has completed a loan to Lonsdale Capital Partners, the private equity firm set up in 2009 by Alan Dargan, Ross Finegan and David Gasparro. The firm takes a flexible, sector-agnostic approach to investment, looking at each opportunity on a case by case basis. As such, it has a very diverse portfolio, ranging from industrials, technology and media, to retail, financial services, healthcare and education.

Lonsdale will use the debt finance from OakNorth to acquire Simmons Bars, a popular London cocktail bar chain with 12 sites across the capital, including in: King’s Cross, Camden, Clerkenwell, Soho, Liverpool Street, Fulham and Balham. Offering an extended “happy hour” which runs daily (including on weekends) from 4-9pm or 3-8pm depending on the venue, the bars are particularly popular amongst young professionals and students. Established in 2013, the company has been on an impressive growth trajectory over the last three years – opening nine of the 12 bars. Nick Campbell, the co-founder and CEO, will continue to lead the business with the support of Lonsdale. With Londsale’s support, the Company intends to continue adding further sites across London, with the aim of expanding to over 30 bars in the short to medium term.

James Knott, Investment Director at Lonsdale Capital Partners, commented:

“Since our founding in 2009, our investment approach has been to back businesses operating in an attractive niche, with strong and ambitious management teams. Simmons is a perfect example of this – although it is a relatively young business, it has grown impressively over the past four years under the leadership of Nick Campbell and now boasts a well-located, profitable estate. In addition to this, it is positioned in one of the fastest growing leisure segments in the UK – one that is expected to be worth £608m by 2021. With this finance from OakNorth, we will be able to provide Simmons with the capital and expertise required to help it reach its full potential.”

Stuart Blair, Debt Finance Director at OakNorth, said:

“This is the first deal we’ve done with Lonsdale and emphasises our commitment to supporting private equity deals in the lower mid-market. Despite increasing competition, chains such as Simmons Bars have managed to carve themselves a niche and build a dedicated following in the cities in which they operate. With Lonsdale’s support, Simmons will be able to pursue its ambitious growth plans of reaching 36 sites over the next four years.”