Family Office Buys Back Flexible Office Firm for Hedge Funds

Celvam Management bought back the Argyll Club, the high-end London flexible-office business it previously owned, which was forced into bankruptcy last year, people with knowledge of the deal said.

The private family office, backed by former Labara Group BV co-founder Ratheesan Yoganathan, has completed a refinancing of the Argyll Club’s debt, which had been bought by rival IWG Group Plc, the people said, asking not to be identified as the transaction isn’t yet public.

“The refinancing marks the end of the administration process as agreed with the U.K. administrators,” the Argyll Club said in an statement relayed by an official. “The Argyll Club will now work to introduce a new strategy for the business. Existing customers’ agreements will be unaffected by the transaction.” The official declined to comment further.

Flexible-office operators have been rocked by the coronavrius pandemic as work-from-home restrictions exposed the mismatch between the short-term deals they offer customers and the long-term leases they sign with landlords. Regus owner IWG, which has shuttered dozens of locations during the outbreak, sold shares last year to raise capital to buy out struggling smaller rivals.

Zug, Switzerland-based IWG, which pioneered serviced offices more than 30 years ago, bought into the 278 million pounds of debt secured against the Argyll Club, React News reported in December. It then called in the loan, triggering the company’s administration, a form of bankruptcy protection. An IWG spokesman declined to comment.

Celvam paid 475 million pounds ($666 million) for the Argyll Club in 2018 when it was known as London Executive Offices. The company’s portfolio includes high-quality office space popular with boutique finance firms and hedge funds. It has 38 locations including one at London’s St. James’s Square and another at 1 Cornhill overlooking the Bank of England.

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