Soho House digs deep

Soho House plans IPO

[Credit: Soho House New York]

News that Soho House is planning an IPO surfaced in February this year for an estimated $3 billion valuation. The group first considered the move in 2018, and the decision to push forward with it now is likely tied to the leisure sector’s recovery. With high demand comes a higher valuation, and investor appetite could be spurred by the group’s claim of retaining 92 per cent of its members throughout 2020.

Since Soho House launched in 1995, the company has diversified to include a range of businesses – reflected in the NYSE listing as Membership Collective Group. Again, this could drum up investor interest as travel enthusiasm increases and a work from anywhere reality sinks in. Airbnb’s highly successful $100 billion IPO is evidence of this.

Flip this idea on its head, however, and one might determine that upmarket boutique venues which don’t charge membership fees will attract pent-up demand. Soho House introduced a series of new membership tiers last year, such as a £100 Soho Friends subscription which offers only limited access. The move towards a more exclusive business model may blunt the opportunities to convert onsite non-members. Founder Nick Jones aims to combat this with the introduction of a digital-only membership later on in the year.

The appeal of a members-only business remains to be seen as further details of the IPO are released in the coming months.

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