TOM Kane’s ties with Adare Manor could be coming to an end. Mr Kane has been the public face of the five-star hotel over the past two decades although his stake is now reported to stand at just 20%.
Now, however, Mr Kane, who has been playing a much less high-profile role for the past few years, could be about to say good-bye to Adare as senior management prepare to buy him, and the other shareholders, out. Sean Melly, of Powerscourt Capital Partners, is reportedly assembling a consortium to raise €13m to buy out the business on behalf of senior management. A report published at the weekend suggested that half the money had been raised so far.
The report also said that the €13m investment would be used to buy out Adare’s debts owed to AIB, which are secured on the property. The deal, if it goes ahead, is expected to wipe out the existing shareholders and the hotel and golf resort would be repossessed.
But all the parties to the deal are maintaining their silence. Mr Kane was not contactable this week and Mr Melly’s company, Powerscourt Capital Partners did not respond to a request for information or confirmation. Murray Consultants, who look after the public affairs of Adare Manor, also declined to comment.
Gerard Cosgrove, Tom Kane’s son-in-law is understood to be among the management team involved in the buy-out. But Mr Cosgrove did not respond to enquiries from the Limerick Leader either. However, if the buy-out goes ahead, Mr Cosgrove and other senior management would have a stake in the new ownership structure.
The €13m investment is the price-tag put on Adare Manor’s 62 bedroom hotel and over 60 villas and town houses and which also includes the Robert Trent Jones Senior-designed championship golf course. The course has hosted the Irish Open on two occasions and has been the home-base for the hugely successful JP McManus Pro-Am. The shareholders who could lose out are Mr Kane and his extended family who, among them, hold an 80% stake. The remaining 20% is owned by investors, among them Dermot Desmond.
Nobody connected with the hotel would comment on what effect, if any, the new structure would have on the business and on employment.
Tom Kane, a former US fighter pilot who survived cancer in 2007, filed for bankruptcy in the US last year and is understood to have lost millions in a property development in Italy. But the bankruptcy proceedings have been complicated by a claim being pursued by Manulife, a Canadian insurance company, which says Mr Kane owes them $13m, a claim rejected by Mr Kane’s lawyers.
Meanwhile, Adare Manor continues to clock up accolades. Earlier this month, it was named Ireland’s leading hotel for the third year in a row in what are regarded as the Oscars of travel and tourism, the annual World Travel Awards. And in August, the Galway Clinic said it planned to open a satellite clinic in the grounds in January.