De Vere Venues showcases at Altitude, as funds circle the business

Venue provider De Vere Venues showcased the latest addition to its portfolio on 26 June with a celebratory VIP event at London’s Altitude on Milbank.
 
The venue, which has undergone several management regimes in recent years, has now teamed up with De Vere Venues to market the spaces to the meetings and events industry.

Altitude offers a 300-seat private cinema/screening room, plus panoramic views of the London skyline from its 28th and 29th floors.
 
Guests were treated to Pimms, champagne, strawberries and ice creams in the Wimbledon-themed River and Paint Rooms.
 
Darren Patt (pictured0, MD at De Vere Venues, said the company was “extremely excited” to be working with Altitude and its 360° panoramic view of the London Skyline. “De Vere Venues is sure to develop existing and create new relationships which will help establish Altitude as one of London’s greatest event spaces,” he added.
 
Meanwhile, De Vere Venues is thought to have shortlisted half a dozen bidders in its ongoing sale process. Sources close to the company have indicated that shortlisted bidders are almost entirely US-based funds.
 
There has been speculation around the obvious synergies that Starwood Capital could achieve by combining Hayley Conferences’ venues with De Vere’s venues. Such a move would put two old adversaries, Tony Troy (CEO Principal Hayley) and Tony Dangerfield (CEO De Vere venues) head to head.  
 
De Vere has had a challenging history since the sudden departure of Richard Balfour Lynn and his Alternative Hotel Group investors parted company with Lloyds bank during the recession. Balfour Lynn stepped down in September 2011.

In the venues division, the group has been selling off some of its smaller venues and CN understand this could lead to increased investment in developing the Village brand now under the leadership of the ambitious Robert Cook.

De Vere Venue’s sale can be seen as part of a bigger jigsaw of hotel assets being split up and sold off as the banks seek to exit bad loans: Q Hotels and Menzies are expected by many in the City to be the next groups put up for sale and are likely to be watching the outcome of the De Vere sale closely.

In recent times De Vere has been shedding venues: Mill and Old Swan, Barony castle have gone and Harben House was put on the market through Christies last year.
 
A statement from De Vere Venues had said that a sales strategy been agreed with major stakeholder Lloyds Banking Group.

Lazard’s the financial advisory and asset management company was charged in April with talking to interested parties.

A De Vere statement said: “Our focus remains to ensure that De Vere Venues continues to be the UK’s market leader in conference, meeting, training and events and that we have the opportunity to continue to expand the business, further extend the brand and maximise our growth potential.

“Over the last 12 months, we have been successful in securing new management contracts and franchises, as well as consolidating our relationships with all our major customers and we have a very attractive future business pipeline, which will ensure we achieve strong growth over the medium term.”

The group added it was “very much business as usual”.
 
Do you have news for CN? Email: pcolston@mashmedia.net

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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