The directors of the popular Broad Street venue The O Bar have bought the bar out of administration using the controversial pre-pack process.
Best Profile, the Lancashire-based firm which owned the bar, has been placed into administration and its assets have been sold to Live Leisure, Best Profile’s sister company, which is run by the same directors.
Robin Evans and Keith and Paul Livesey, who were directors of Best Profile, also run Live Leisure, the O Bar’s new owner.
The bar, which is located opposite Brindleyplace, continues to trade and has been unaffected by the deal.
The O Bar is the latest in a string of city centre bars to use the pre-pack process – where a buyer is lined up before a firm goes into administration, often shearing it of its debt burden.
Prepacks are therefore unpopular with creditors, but their supporters say they enable firms to continue to stay in business, avoiding the need for redundancies.
Robin Evans, of Live Leisure, said there were no problems with trading at The O Bar, but that Best Profile had gone into administration owing to “lease issues” at another of its venues.
Best Profile also owned Opus Bar in Milton Keynes and a venue in Preston, and the O Bar is a sister venue to Opus in Manchester.
Mr Evans said: “We moved the assets into another company.
“The O Bar continues to trade – it hasn’t changed at all. It’s a terrific business for us.”
The administration was handled by Leonard Curtis in Bury.
The O Bar, previously known as Congress Bar, was bought by Best Profile in 2008, with the new company pumping in £400,000 of investment to transform the venue, following the firm’s “two room two music” policy.
Mike Olley, Broad Street manager, said he was pleased The O Bar would remain open.
“There’s no way we would like to lose the O Bar,” he said. “It’s in one of the premium positions and when it opened, it freshened things up and brought a more upmarket feel to the area.
“They have been great traders within the Broad Street family.”
The O Bar adds to the list of other city centre venues to have been bought out of administration with the directors remaining at the helm of the collapsed firms.
Other venues which have used similar deals in the last year include Utopia The Bar, in Church Street, and Epernay, in the Mailbox, as well as The Vaults, in the Jewellery Quarter.
Last August Utopia and Epernay were bought by Cotswold Inns and Hotels after Utopia Inns, run by Tony Ashby, went into administration.
Mr Ashby said at the time that the deal had effectively been a pre-pack as he continued to run the venues in his previous position.
The Vaults in the Jewellery Quarter was also bought out again by Russell Townsend, the director who originally took the firm into administration owing to cashflow problems.