M&C Report previews all the latest City & Business gossip from Morning Advertiser editor Paul Charity. Greene king gets personal Greene King bagged the Cloverleaf pubs estate last week without a formal sale process being conducted (although there was one a while back). How did the Bury mob manage to bag the business without competition from rival buyers. Well, there’s nothing compares with the benefits of establising a personal relationship. “We kept in touch with them with them for the past 12 to 18 months,” says a Greene King source. S&NPC thinks pub management isn't all that Scottish & Newcastle Pub Company (S&NPC) has been exiting pub management contracts at a rate of knots. Still considered by many to be the crown jewels are the 800 or so pubs it manages for the Royal Bank of Scotland. Diary hears a whisper that the management contract has around 18 months to run and S&NPC is pondering hanging up its boots on this one as well - on account of things not being what they once were and all that. Throwing shapes Nightclub company Nexum Leisure, led by veteran shape-thrower Paul Kinsey, filed accounts a year or so late recently. A reading of them provides a few clues as to the delay - it’s all been going on. In 2009, the company had borrowings of £20m or so as a major refinance took place. Since then the directors admit trading conditions have been “extremely challenging” and the “market values of individual nightclubs has fallen markedly”. Individual clubs have been sold where possible and others closed. The process reached a head at the end of September last year when Kinsey acquired the seven open venues - Kingston, Blackpool, Derby, Stockton, Bristol, Chesterfield and Barnsley - and assumed trade creditor obligations. And there’s proof that nightclub leases can devalue in price terms at a fair lick - Kinsey paid £1,085,958. No Atmosphere in Scunthorpe Meanwhile, elsewhere in the market, the steady closure of nightclubs continues. Latest high profile closure is Atmosphere Bars and Clubs’ Love2Love in Scunthorpe, a 1,150-capacity venue struggling because attendance numbers have dropped to a measly 200-a-night. It’s not like this was a site that was under-invested. It was a Luminar venue called Time that saw a reported £1.5m refurb. from 3D Entertainment in July 2007. Atmosphere boss David Crabtree says taking are down 50% in a year but is having one last strategic think before permanent closure is considered. Speak easy at Meateasy Capital Pub Company has a surprise hit on its hands at the Goldsmiths Arms in New Cross, south-east London. The company has given-space on its second floor to a burger operation called Meateasy, which has burger fans raving about the sheer quality of the burger-based cooking on offer. A little like Shooting Stars’ legendary Angelos Epethemiou, the Meateasy operation was based in a mobile van - until it was stolen. Capital Pubs Scott Collins suggested that they could the disused space about the Goldsmiths Tavern until a replacement can be afforded. If a 2,000 word article in the London Evening Standard is to be believed, the Goldsmiths Arms short-term lodger is now offering the best burger known to man - and they’re flocking in droves to this new burger Mecca What do women really want? Barracuda Pub Company thinks it has the answer to a time-honoured question: what do women really want? Diary notes that its splashing a bit of cash (£85,000 per site) up-dating a few Barracuda Bars - Scunthorpe and Scarborough have undergone the treatment in early 2011 - by re-opening them as unbranded pubs with a more female-friendly face. There’s flock wallpaper, contemporary furniture in vibrant colours and a Sunday carvery. The Scunthorpe site’s even had two new windows installed to flood the bar with natural light. This site’s now called Abacus and manager Kerry Payne says: “The change comes about as part of the company’s strategy to focus on offering a more balanced business to our customers.” Testing times at Wetherspoon JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin has waged a campaign against test-purchasing. He argues that these produce unforeseen negatives - such as driving younsters to drink more off-trade booze on park benches and similar. Now the company is facing its first ever possible site closure (there’s a licence review pending) after its Mexborough venue failed its second test-purchase. Martin says: “This pub has an extremely good licensing record and there have been no problems reported to the authorities of underage drinking at the premises. There is an underage drinking issue in the town, the South Yorkshire Times reports, this takes place in a nearby “hump” of land between the canal and river and is nothing to do with any of the pubs in the town. “However, this pub has already closed down for a weekend after a failed test purchase some months ago, and another 16 or 17-year-old has been sent to the pub, under local authority supervision, and has been served, so it may well be the pub is shut down - this time for a long time., if not permanently.” Unusually, the local newspaper has pinned its colours to JD Wetherspoon's mast, submitting a 500-signature Save our Spoon petition. Extinct Tiger Tiger The Tiger Tiger concept run by London-based Novus Leisure has not generally fared well in the regions. Now, while busily completing its acquisition of Balls Brothers, Novus is to spend £1m on re-launching the former Tiger Tiger site in Glasgow as Mansion House. The site, which opens early in March, will feature a new restauant, the Lasserie, and a bar called Merchants. Another small multiple has picked up a choice freehold out of the shrinking tenanted behemoths. Yeo Group, which runs three sites in Suffolk, has bought the Fludyer Arms, one of Felixstowe’s best-known seafront hotels, from Punch Taverns in a deal worth around £600,000, Yeo Group founders cCouple Tim and Julie Yeo are looking to invest in wholesale renovations “In the short term, the current tenant will continue to operate the business on a temporary arrangement to ensure that regular customers are not affected by the change of ownership,” says Tim