Coolmore target Queens Club

THE Coolmore Mafia are looking at a takeover of the Queen’s tennis club in London.

The 119-year-old club, which hosts the traditional warm-up to the Wimbledon championships, is being put up for sale by its members for around €60 million.

Next Generation Clubs, the leisure group co-owned by JP McManus, John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Denis Brosnan and Dermot Desmond, has expressed an interest in the club.

Scott Lloyd, managing director of Next Generation, told one British newspaper yesterday: "We have been monitoring the situation at Queen's and we are, of course, interested.

"Our roots are very much in tennis and our recent purchase of the Harbour Club shows our appetite for acquisitions."

The Queen's club is being sold by the Lawn Tennis Association.

The owner will operate the club, which has a total of 29 indoor and outdoor tennis courts, on a 120-year lease.

The new owners will have to give a guarantee to hold the Stella Artois tournament every year American ace Andy Roddick won this year's event. A number of fitness chains are expected to make a bid for the prestigious venue.

However, given the firepower of Next Generation's backers, the question of money is not expected to be a problem.

Last month, the Irish Examiner revealed that Next Generation made profits of some €4.4 million in 2004 on total sales of €42.9 million.

Next Generation, chaired by the former Kerry Group chief executive Denis Brosnan, has more than a dozen leisure centres dotted across Britain.

It also spent more than €25 million at the start of this year on the Harbour Club in London one of the city's most exclusive fitness clubs.

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