Patron Capital, the London-based private equity real estate firm, and London-listed property company Development Securities have exited from their jointly-held investment in the Phones 4u Arena entertainment complex in Manchester.
The partners sold the 21,000-seat arena, formerly known as the Manchester Evening News Arena, for £82.1 million (€96.6 million; $133.2 million) to Mansford Capital, a real estate fund manager also based in London, little more than three years after buying it for £62.2 million from Capital & Regional.
The arena is one of the largest of its kind in northern England and regularly hosts large music acts. In the coming months, it will host Dolly Parton, the Arctic Monkeys and Billy Joel, for example. In an announcement on the sale, Patron Capital, which owned 70 percent to the 30 percent owned by Development Securities, said the property saw 1.2 million ticket sales each year and was the second most popular indoor arena in the world after the O2 Arena in London.
When it bought the Arena, Patron “hailed the property as a prime asset with robust defensive qualities and considerable growth potential.” In its announcement on the sale, the firm said it had “improved” the arena and other parts of its complex, “repositioning the whole as an institutional asset.”
Patron acquired the arena via its third opportunistic fund, Patron Capital III, which closed on €1.09 billion.