Hermes backs bingo clubs buyout

Hermes Private Equity, a UK private equity firm, has backed the buyout of Thomas Estates, gaming company, and plans to merge them with portfolio company Mayfair Gaming.

Hermes Private Equity, the mid-market buyout arm of Hermes Pensions Management, has backed portfolio company Mayfair Gaming’s acquisition of Thomas Estates, the owner of Beacon Bingo clubs and Showboat gaming centres.
 
Mayfair Gaming acquired Thomas Estates from the Thomas family for an undisclosed sum. The Royal Bank of Scotland provided debt facilities for the transaction.
 
Hermes Private Equity made the investment from its second fund, Hermes Private Equity Partners II, which closed on £250 million (€370 million) in September 2005. The fund, which is now roughly 30 percent invested, was the firm’s first to receive commitments from external investors, including a £100 million allocation by the Royal Mail Pension Plan.
 
Hermes Private Equity bought Mayfair Gaming in a management buyout in May of this year. The bingo operator, which has eight clubs across the UK and a turnover of £12 million in 2005, was acquired from Risk Capital Partners, which had carried out a management buy-in of the business in 2004.
 
Hermes Private Equity’s other investments in the leisure sector include Merlin Entertainments, a UK theme park operator, which was sold to The Blackstone Group, a US private equity firm, in May 2005 for £102.5 million.