Famous Edinburgh pubs to go to Glasgow tycoon

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By Claire Cameron

Biddy Mulligans is one of the venues set to change hands

SOME of Edinburgh’s best-known pubs and hotels are to be sold off to a Glasgow nightclub owner in a bid to cut losses.

The venues, part of the ailing Festival Group business, are being sold by owner Kenny Waugh as he breaks up his loss-making hospitality and leisure empire.

Mr Waugh is expected to announce the sale of the venues to Glasgow businessman Stefan King for a reported 30 million.

The Edinburgh tycoonis set to hand the keys over to various leisure venues throughout the city, including Biddy Mulligans in the Grassmarket, the Bank Hotel on the Royal Mile, the Three Sisters in Cowgate and the Murrayfield Hotel.

Mr Waugh has not commented on the reported GI Group deal.

Glasgow tycoon Stefan King already owns various venues in the capital, including the ceilidh-themed pub Ghillie Dhu in Rutland Place, the Granary restaurant in Leith and GHQ nightclub in Picardy Place.

A spokesman for Mr King said: “It is true that we are currently in negotiation with Kenny Waugh to join forces.

Negotiations are ongoing and it would be wrong to go beyond that in relation to particular units and impact on personnel.”

Mr King owns growing hospitality and leisure business GI Group.

He holds interests in pubs, clubs and cinemas throughout Glasgow, including Mediterranean-theme bar and club Arta and the Corinthian bar and casino in the Merchant City.

There is also some speculation that Mr King plans to buy the former BBC Headquarters in the city’s Queen Margaret Drive from RBS.

It is Mr Waugh’s second sale this week after he managed to secure the sale of his chain of 65 Scotbet bookmakers to its management, led by Graham Martin, a former chairman of Probability Games, and former Tote CEO John Heaton.

It is not known how much Scotbet’s sale raised.

Son of former Hibs chairman Kenny Waugh, the Edinburgh businessman has been trying to cut down on Festival Group’s losses for some time. In 2009 the group revealed a staggering debt of 46.2 million to Clydesdale Bank. It also said its pre-tax losses had almost doubled from 6 million to 11.4 million.

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