WALKABOUT operator, Intertain, have confirmed they have put the Shepherd’s Bush property up for sale, citing a “high level of interest” from operators and developers in this “well-known and highly valuable freehold site”.
“We have appointed an agent to help us market the site and evaluate the approaches,” a spokesman for Intertain told Australian Times.
The listing has sparked rumours on social media the iconic Australian-themed pub may be soon closing its doors.
However Walkabout’s operators reassured customers any potential sale could take many months.
“In the meantime it’s business as usual and all bookings at the venue will of course go ahead,” said Intertain.
“We will give customers plenty of notice if the venue is indeed sold.”
The 1,150 capacity property fronting Shepherd’s Bush Common has been listed with property agents Davis Coffer Lyons, who describe it as a “bar venue arranged over basement, ground and two upper floors” in the heart of the “affluent suburb” of Shepherd’s Bush.
DCL have invited offers “for the freehold interest with vacant possession on an unconditional basis”. This indicates there will be no obligation on the purchaser to allow Walkabout to continue operating in the building as a tenant following any potential sale.
Should the Walkabout at Shepherd’s Bush close it will leave only one London location of this popular brand, at Temple. It would follow the closure of the Covent Garden branch in March after 18 years in business, and the closure of the Finchley Road branch in October 2012.
Intertain plan to use the sale proceeds from Shepherd’s Bush for further acquisitions and investments.
“Since 2010 we have carried out the complete refurbishment of 12 venues, with plans for five more this year, and more next year,” said Intertain.
“The sale proceeds from Shepherds Bush would fund the refurbishments and kick-start an acquisition programme, creating hundreds of new jobs in the process.”
Intertain have undergone a change in ownership in May, which has seen it continue this focus on growth opportunities for the brand.
The previous owners, West LB, RBS, Lloyds and Barclays, were replaced by Barclays Ventures, and a consortium owned by investment group TPG Opportunities Partners and Goldman Sachs.
Intertain chief executive John Leslie told M&C Report in May the new ownership supported a “growth agenda” for the 35-strong group, with a focus on growing the business “in quality locations”.
“There are a number of towns and cities that we would like to get into,” said Leslie.
“The Walkabout brand has tremendous pedigree, the ability to deliver excellent returns on investment and great potential for growth given that it is not represented in many of the key towns and cities in the UK.”
Intertain have recently announced a £500,000 investment in the Walkabout in Derby, reports M&C Report. It is the first investment since the May change in ownership.