KPMG and Glasgow nightclub tycoon agree Espionage deal

Blair Nimmo
Blair Nimmo

Espionage, the nightclub business with premises in Edinburgh and Aberdeen has been sold 10 months after it was put into administration.

Blair Nimmo, head of restructuring for KPMG in Scotland and joint administrator said Stefan King, the boss of Glasgow-based G1 Group, is the new owner of the Espionage clubs which were hit by a downturn in July last year.

Mr King’s leisure empire includes nightclubs, bars and off-licenses across the west of Scotland, including the Corinthian Club and Arta in Glasgow.

Mr Nimmo said the buyout saved 45 jobs across both locations.

“We held discussions with a number of interested parties and we are extremely pleased to have completed a sale of both nightclubs, safeguarding 45 jobs,” he said.

“We would like to thank all employees and suppliers for their continued co-operation throughout the process and wish the new owners every success in the months ahead,” MrNimmo added.

Mr King’s G1 Group owns a raft of bars, hotels, restaurants and nightclubs in the central belt, including several outlets in Glasgow’s Merchant City and on Ashton Lane in Glasgow, and Cabaret Voltaire in Edinburgh.

The multimillionaire’s group also owns the Palm Court Hotel in Aberdeen’s west end.

Before the administrators stepped in, Espionage had been run by Edinburgh-based property and club entrepreneur Jim Tullis, through his firm Duddingston Leisure.

KPMG said that although both nightclubs hold prominent city-centre locations – the other in Edinburgh is on Victoria Street– the venues had been particularly affected by “challenging trading conditions”.

In March, the G1 Group was named and shamed for not paying the minimum wage to almost 3,000 workers.

The company was the top offender out of 48 across the UK highlighted by then Business Minister Jo Swinson.

A HMRC probe found G1 neglected to pay national minimum wage totalling £45,124 to 2,895 employees.

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