TLT lawyers on cue with snooker club group buy-out deal

November 26, 2012

Bristol law firm TLT has advised management at Rileys, Britain’s biggest chain of snooker and pool clubs, on the sale of the business out of administration to a group of private investors.

The move saves more than 625 out of around 760 jobs and means that 78 of the firm’s 103 clubs will remain open, including its Bristol outlet.

The TLT team included restructuring partner Peter Carney and Peter Naylor, an associate in TLT's corporate team who has expertise in acquisitions, disposals and management buyouts. The firm has worked closely with the Riley’s management team for several years.

At its peak in the 1980s, the company had 165 clubs across the UK. But the business has been hit by a slow decline in the number of people playing snooker in clubs while bosses have also blamed the smoking ban and changes brought in by the Gambling Act.

Rileys had previously collapsed into administration in 2009. It was saved by several directors who, with others, acquired it through an acquisition vehicle called Valiant Sports.

Chief executive Maurice Kelly said of the latest deal: “We are desperately sorry that we could not take everyone with us but we’ve worked hard to rescue the majority of our clubs, saving 625 jobs.

“Continuing cashflow and trading difficulties on the high street has forced this administration but the new company has been fortunate in securing significant investment from private sources to take the business forward and to secure one of the oldest names in British sport.

“The double-dip recession has put pressure on all discretionary spending in the country and we have not been immune to those problems experienced by retailers.

“There have also been on-going issues with the smoking ban and changes to the Gambling Act which disadvantaged commercial snooker clubs.”

But look ahead he added: “We are confident that we can now create a new offering to members and customers which will excite them and it is really encouraging to be able to attract new investment to take the company forward.”

Head of TLT’s corporate team, partner John Wood, who led the project, said: “TLT has a strong relationship with Rileys, having worked closely with the management team for some years in what has been an incredibly turbulent period for leisure businesses.”

Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across Bristol for just £120 a month. Email for more information.