Soho House shares fall on first day of trading

Shares in private members club Soho House slipped as much as 8pc to less than $13 in its US market debut after pricing at the lower end of its marketed range. 

Soho House owner Membership Collective Group joined the New York Stock Exchange with a value of around $2.8bn (£2bn) in a listing which handed its members the chance to own part of the business. It had previously said it would be listing at between $14 and $16 a share, and earlier this week priced it at $14. 

Following the initial slump in shares, Soho House later pared some of those losses to trade around 4pc lower at $13.38. 

The company owns the 28 Soho House clubs, including Soho Farm House, which together have around 119,000 members and host A-list celebrities such as supermodel Kate Moss and actor Eddie Redmayne.

Nick Jones, who founded Soho House in 1995, said the float was “nerve-wracking and exciting in equal measure”. 

He said Soho House had been surprised by the high level of demand among members to take part in the listing, with around a fifth subscribing for the maximum amount of 100 shares.

Mr Jones said: “They’ve stayed so loyal during the pandemic, and they’re really cheering from the sidelines at this stage of our lives.”

Less than a tenth of members cancelled their subscriptions during the pandemic. 

One of the company’s private member clubs in Austin

However, despite that losses swelled to around $236m last year. The company made around a sixth of its 6,100 staff redundant during 2020 as pandemic restrictions prevented it from opening its clubs to members. In the first quarter of 2021, it burned through more than $100m. 

The group is yet to have turned a profit, and went into the pandemic owing £350m to the British private equity firm Permira which had been due to be repaid this year. This was extended to 2023. 

Mr Jones told The Telegraph last year that he expected a rebound in demand after the Covid crisis which Soho House would benefit from.

He said: “I think we’re going to get back to the Roaring Twenties. My logic is a lot of money has not been spent and is sitting somewhere.”

Mr Jones said on Thursday that demand had ramped up significantly since lockdown restrictions began to ease earlier this year. 

He added: “We’re at Soho Farm House and the place is packed. You can’t get a cabin for a long time, but members have really come back to the Houses. They feel safe there, they know people there and they know we’re there to look after them.”

The staycation boom had created “swings and roundabouts” for Soho House, Mr Jones said, as it had global members who travelled to different houses. 

He said: “If there was no pandemic, Soho Farmhouse would still be full.”

The company said its membership waiting list stood at around 48,000 applicants at the start of the year and has since grown to 59,000. Mr Jones said the uptick in demand was largely from workers who wanted to use Soho House’s venues as an alternative to the office. 

He said: “We’re a home from home, we’ve got workspaces which feel like home. People want to live their lives differently now.”