It was confirmed yesterday that the Killeen Group — the holding company for the Mahony family’s business interests — has sold the resort to a partnership comprising Dublin-based property-focused private equity firm, Brehon Capital and entrepreneur, Emmet O’Neill, who founded the Smiles Dental clinic chain.
The transaction fee has not been disclosed, but it is believed to be around €15m.
The new owners of the resort — which is set on 500 acres in Thomastown and also includes the well-known Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, which has hosted a number of Irish Opens in the past, and an equestrian centre — plan to add a further 30-40 rooms to the existing 86 at the hotel and upgrade the existing swimming pool and spa treatment areas.
Existing staff were due to be told of the development yesterday, but it is understood that no job cuts are planned and that the new owner’s ultimate aim is to grow Mount Juliet’s employee numbers over the long term.
Furthermore, the sale of the resort does not include the nearby Ballylinch Stud, which will continue to form part of the Killeen Group, which also owns the Irish franchises for Toyota and Lexus.
Damien Gaffney of Brehon Capital — which also owns the Powerscourt Hotel in Wicklow and Dublin’s Marker Hotel — said the new partnership was committed to growing Mount Juliet in line with the Mahony family’s vision, while Emmet O’Neill said the resort would continue to hold its position of Ireland’s “pre-eminent golf destination” under the new ownership.