Mercantile ready for investment as legal dispute comes to an end...
Dublin's nightlife is in for something of a makeover, as Mercantile plans to invest big in the likes of Café en Seine, The George and Whelan's.
The hospitality group is gearing up to commence a €20 million upgrade programme involving its iconic establishments as a bitter legal dispute comes to an end.
Three sets of proceedings involving the US-Irish consortium that owned the majority of Mercantile and its former chief executive Frank Gleeson were struck out by the High Court on Monday, The Irish Times reports.
Mr Gleeson's shareholder oppression case, which involved various allegations against his former colleagues and fellow shareholders, was withdrawn and the €4.6m debt case against him was discontinued.
The group's 11 venues will now be split up between the two parties.
Mr Gleeson will control Farrier & Draper bar in Dublin's Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, the Green Hen and Marcel's restaurants, and two suburban Dublin pub sites.
Mercantile has full ownership of the rest of the group, which will now benefit from fresh funds.
The bulk of the €20m will go towards tripling the number of bedrooms in Dame Street's Mercantile Hotel to 100. The Mercantile group is reportedly in advanced talks to buy the freehold on the property, with work set to commence in September 2018.
Café en Seine is in for major €3m upgrade. Mercantile will obtain landlord's consent before submitting its plans for the Dawson Street hotspot.
The Opium venue on Wexford Street is set to close in two weeks' time for a three-month, €2m refurbishment.
The East Side Tavern near St Stephen's Green, meanwhile, is set to be sold to a third party.
The group was formed from the merger of two separate hospitality companies in 2015. It brought the Mercantile bar, the Green Hen on Exchequer Street and Whelan's together with Capital Bars venues including The George and Café en Seine.
Café en Seine
Under the merger, Frank Gleeson had held a 30% stake in Ardan Advisory, of which the group is a wholly-owned subsidiary.
The remaining 70% was owned by JT Magen (Capital Bars) LLC and Danu Advisory Partners Ltd, which now takes over the full amount.
Gleeson had been on "gardening leave" since December.
The group employs approximately 600 people and have revenues of approximately €40m per annum.