DIARY: Freud-led consortium snaps up the Groucho Club

The race to purchase Soho's infamous PR and media hangout the

Groucho Club has been won by the consortium led by club member Matthew


The group, which includes business associate Joel Cadbury, financier

Rupert Hambro and founder of the Pizza Express chain Hugh Osmond, is to

pay in the region of pounds 11.7m for the club, having declared their

offer 'wholly unconditional' last week.

The imminent conclusion of a deal comes after the Groucho board

reportedly advised members to reject a rival deal headed by

self-proclaimed 'It Girl' Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and hotelier Benjamin

Fry. It is understood the Freud-led bid is favoured since it is a cash

offer as opposed to the shares swap deal put forward by the latter


While Fry had aspirations of merging the Groucho brand with his Zoo

hotels chain and potentially opening a chain of Groucho hotels, Freud's

plans are likely to stick more closely to the club's traditions.

Indeed with media types at the helm, the acquisition resembles a case of

poacher turned gamekeeper, perhaps suggesting a return to the club's

'luvvie' heyday.

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