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James and his Giant Peach! Caan Grabs Country House Bargain

Written by: Keith Tully

Reviewed: Wednesday 12th September, 2012

Popular entrepreneur and BBC ‘Dragon’ James Caan has always had a keen eye for a bargain and he’s come up trumps again with a £1.5m purchase of a north-west hotel.

The Michelin-star awarded Sharrow Bay Country House and Restaurant in the Lake District was originally valued at £5m but previous owners Von Essen group were declared bankrupt with debts of around £300m. The group’s creditor banks, Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group, forced the chain into administration in April 2011.

Caan utilised his private equity company Hamilton Bradshaw for the acquisition, who drove down a bargain price for the resort helped by its relatively short lease remaining and the fact that nearly all other Von Essen properties had been sold and administrators were urgently seeking closure across the portfolio.

Martin Davis, director for Christie + Co in the North West, said: "We're delighted to have sold this fine country house hotel to Hamilton Bradshaw.

"Sharrow Bay is an iconic country house hotel which occupies an outstanding location on the shore of Lake Ullswater.

"We've thoroughly enjoyed working with the administrators Ernst & Young on this process and wish all the new owners well with their new business acquisitions."

The country house first opened in 1948 and features 24 beds in a breathtaking setting on the idyllic Ullswater shore.

The hotel’s internationally renowned kitchen, led by Colin Akrigg, uses the finest local ingredients to produce sumptuous British cuisine and is widely recognised as the creator of the British signature desert, ‘Sticky Toffee Pudding’.

Keith Tully

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Keith has been involved in Business Rescue since 1992, during which time he’s worked for both independent and national firms. His specialties include company restructuring matters and negotiating with HMRC on his clients behalf.

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