Bloom bursts back onto property scene

Property tycoon Desmond Bloom is making stock market comeback via a reverse takeover of a small music company, which he plans to transform into a £250m real estate group.

Bloom, one of the property world’s most colourful characters, has used a shell company called Imperial Music & Media to launch his latest comeback.

The property mogul, who quietly became chief executive of the ISDX-traded Imperial last year, has kicked off his return with the £12.5m acquisition of 38 properties from Guy Naggar and Peter Klimt, the founders of asset manager Dawnay Day. The acquisition amounts to a reverse takeover of Imperial, and the group suspended trading this morning, pending a planned admission to AIM in June.

The vast majority of the 38 properties are high street retail assets. Speaking exclusively to Property Week, 68-year-old Bloom said he had appointed Cushman & Wakefield to value the portfolio, but estimated them to be worth around £130m. With an annual rent roll of £7.5m, the properties include tenants such as Ask, Greggs, McDonalds, Next, Pizza Express, River Island, and WH Smith. The properties are spread across the country including in towns such as Bath, Chiswick, Edinburgh, Maidstone, and Sheffield.

There is also one small office property in St Helen’s Place, right next to Brookfield’s long-awaited 100 Bishopsgate.

The acquisition includes £97m of debt and signals Bloom’s intention to create a highly geared company, which is likely to change its name to Imperial Property when it completes its AIM listng.

“About five years ago I decided to take a break from property,” said Bloom. “And that was the right decision. But now I’ve joined forces with my old friend and colleague Christopher Stainforth to launch a new property company.

“We’ve bought our first tranche of assets which are fabulous properties up and down the country. And we’ve got a couple of small deals coming up too, which will give us property worth around £130m. We’re also lining up a deal for another £150m of assets, so by the end of this year we’re looking at a £250m to £300m property company.

“With a general election coming up I don’t expect we’ll complete the AIM-listing until June. But, I’m back. Again.”

Stainforth, the former director of corporate finance at UBS Phillips & Drew, and Bloom have partnered on several ventures before, including Bloom’s Premier Land.

This latest comeback represents Bloom’s first stock market venture in eight years. Bloom, a one-time boxer and minder to the late pop star Screaming Lord Sutch, is the son of a factory manager and a bus conductress. He started dealing in real estate in London in the 1970s.

He was chairman and managing director of Dwyer, which was listed on the Dublin and London stock exchanges. Under his directorship, the shares rocketed from 6p to 405p. He later became chairman and managing director of the London-listed commercial property investment company Premier Land. ​

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