Stuart Young, the ex-managing director of Tyne & Wear-based Principle Leisure, has bought five former Principle Leisure bars and restaurants out of administration under his vehicle Popolo Leisure. It’s understood that Young had been interested in securing the leasehold venues for several months, but completion was not possible until after agreements could be reached with the landlords on 1 February. Andrew Haslam of Begbies Traynor, which was appointed as the administrator of Principle Leisure in April 2011, said the sale process had been “long and fraught”. He added: “It is very satisfying to finally bring this matter to a successful conclusion, resulting in the ongoing trade of all of the outlets as well as the retention of over 300 employees.” The five venues, which operated under the trading name Principle Leisure (North East) Limited, are: Popolo Newcastle; Popolo Sheffield; San Lorenzo Gosforth; San Lorenzo Cramlington; and Establishment Sunderland. The acquisition takes Popolo’s estate up to 10 sites. Christie + Co was appointed to market the nine former Principle Leisure sites last April and three are still on the market: Salt Water in Nottingham, Popolo in the Garden in Newcastle, and River Bar & Flume Restaurant in Washington, Tyne & Wear (a freehold). Last September Spirit Group bought Principle Leisure’s other outlet, the Blackbird in Newcastle. Begbies Traynor has said Principle Leisure went into administration after experiencing cash flow difficulties due to the opening and refurbishment of several new outlets, and the general downturn in the licensed sector, which resulted in tax arrears being accrued.

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