Owner of The Fife Arms in Braemar acquires London's Groucho Club for £40m

Private members club The Groucho Club in London’s Soho has been bought by an independent hospitality business that also owns The Fife Arms in Braemar.

The sale price was just under £40 million, according to someone familiar with the transaction, and marks the third time that Groucho has changed hands since it was founded in 1985.

The predominately female-founded club will also join venues such as Manuela in Los Angeles, and the soon-to-open Audley Public House in Mayfair that are owned by Artfarm.

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The club was previously under the ownership of a group of private investors comprising Alcuin Capital Partners, which has Caffe Nero amongst its portfolio, ICG Enterprise Trust and Isfield Investments, together with a number of private investors.

The Groucho has become a "spiritual home" to famous artists, musicians, writers and media figures, with member Damien Hirst famously putting his £20,000 Turner Prize winnings behind the bar.

The venue is also renowned for being decorated with a contemporary collection of around 150 works of art, by artists including Francis Bacon, Tracey Emin and Gavin Turk.

Buyer Artfarm – a six-year-old business run by the founders of art gallery Hauser & Wirth – said it plans to respect the history and traditions of the club while welcoming new members.

The acquisition marks the third time that Groucho has changed hands since it was founded in 1985 (file image). Picture: Mark Robert Milan/Getty Images.

Boss Ewan Venters headed luxury department store Fortnum & Mason for eight years and is a member of Groucho.

He said: "As a member for some time myself, I understand the special place the Groucho occupies in London's cultural landscape. Under Artfarm's ownership, the future of the club is assured.

"We will respect the history and traditions of the club, and we look forward to engaging with its membership to create a long-term future for the Groucho that builds on its eclectic appeal and maverick ethos."

Founders of Groucho include Australian writer Carmen Callil, publisher Liz Calder and American literary agent Ed Victor, who set it up as an alternative to male-dominated private members clubs.

The five-star boutique Fife Arms is a category B-listed building in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, that was built in the 19th century, with milestones including last year winning an Independent Hotel of the Year award.


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