Part of the Rank
Groups £40 million SkyDome Coventry leisure and entertainment complex has been sold
to nightclub company Northern Leisure.
Northern Leisure has paid around £150 million to buy Rank Entertainment which has four
businesses Jumpin Jaks, Bonds, Ikon and Diva - at SkyDome which opens this Friday.
The sale, which will take a month to complete, will mean that Rank will have only the
nine-screen Odeon and the new 4,000 seater sports and entertainment Arena which is due to
come on stream at the SkyDome complex later this year.
The complex will employ around 485 people when it is fully complete but Rank today said
that jobs were not at risk when the take-over goes through.
Rank spokesman Ron Hanlon said:
"If the sale goes through there will be no implication for local employment as
Northern Leisure will have similar staffing requirements. Equally, Northern Leisure are
committed to offering the high level of entertainment originally planned for our
Fridays opening night is not affected and the public will not notice any direct
change as a result of the sale.
Northern Leisure is buying 37 nightclubs, nine Jumpin Jaks, six Hotshots and three
other leisure outlets which will jump its number of venues from 70 to 125.
The move is seen as the first move in the re-shaping of Rank by chief executive Mike
Smith. Odeon is also rumoured to be up for sale for around £300 million as Rank looks to
SkyDome Coventry has been awarded its public entertainment license and drinks license
ahead of the opening.
The licensing justices toured the complex before returning to court to issue the
SkyDome Coventry general manager Trevor Ellard said:
"It all went very well indeed and the chairman of the magistrates said that he was
very happy to see SkyDome here in Coventry."
There is a VIP night tomorrow and the complex opens to the public on Friday. Three acts
who have had number one hits - Sash, ATB and DJ Jean - and DJ Tony Blackburn are booked to
appear in the first fortnight.