IPO Watch: Private members club Soho House crashes on New York debut

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·3-min read
Supermodel Kate Moss is a well-known member of Soho House. Photo: Stephane De Sakutina/AFP via Getty Images
Supermodel Kate Moss is a well-known member of Soho House. Photo: Stephane De Sakutina/AFP via Getty Images

Shares in the owner of Kate Moss’ private members club Soho House fell out of fashion with investors last night, as it ended its stock market debut 9.6% lower.

Membership Collective Group (MCG), which has expanded its exclusive clubs into a dozen countries across the globe, saw its stock drop to less $12.66 after its first day of trading in New York, valuing the firm at $2.5bn (£1.8bn).

It had raised $420m in its initial public offering (IPO) led by JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp, and sold 30 million shares at $14 each, at the lower end of expectations. It had previously said it would list at between $14 and $16 a share.

MCG fell 9.6% on Thursday in its first day of trading in New York. Chart: Yahoo Finance
MCG fell 9.6% on Thursday in its first day of trading in New York. Chart: Yahoo Finance

The company was founded by its chief executive, Nick Jones, in 1995 in London’s Soho district as a venue for executives in the creative industries, It has clubs in cities including New York, Hong Kong, Amsterdam and Barcelona, and is planning to open additional clubs in Paris, Rome and Tel Aviv in the near future.

However, despite its almost 120,000 members who pay up to $3,400 a year, and attracting celebrities such as supermodel Kate Moss to the clubs, it is yet to turn a profit after almost three decades.

In the first quarter of the year it posted a loss of $93m on revenues of $72m as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the business. This compared to losses of $45 million for the equivalent period a year ago.

Last year, losses came in at $384m in the 12 months to 3 January, according to its filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, with more than 1,000 of its employees being made redundant.

Read more: What are your rights if you are made redundant during coronavirus?

MCG, which also owns The Ned hotel in London and the Scorpios beach club in Mykonos, revealed that less than a tenth of its members cancelled their subscriptions during the health crisis. Some 92% of them remained on the roster during 2020 despite clubs being forced to close.

“We think we’re coming out of COVID in a very good position,” Jones told Bloomberg in a TV interview. “We think there’s a lot of exciting growth opportunities.”

He added that the company’s IPO saw a huge demand for members looking to take part in the float, with around 20% subscribing for the maximum amount of 100 shares.

“They've stayed so loyal during the pandemic, and they're really cheering from the sidelines at this stage of our lives,” he said.

Jones is hoping to open another 16 Soho House “houses” by the end of 2023, taking the total to 46.

The company also plans to launch a digital-only membership later this year, which will allow members to search for and be recommended to other members, as well as being able to communicate through direct messaging, audio and video.

Watch: What is an IPO? Is it a good idea for you to invest in it?

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