Property tycoon Brooks beats Ashley to Brixton Market
Limerick property mogul Aidan Brooks has emerged as one of the new buyers of the famous Brixton Market in London.
A consortium he's involved with has forked out £37.3m (€42.1m) for the historic venue, seeing off competition from billionaire Mike Ashley, the founder and CEO of Sports Direct and the current owner of Newcastle United.
Brixton Markets, which includes 140 shops and restaurants, was sold by London & Associated Properties, which put the market up for sale last year.
The controversial Mr Ashley had been the frontrunner for the market, but talks between him and London & Associated Properties collapsed last month.
It's not yet known who Mr Brooks has teamed up with to buy the market, which was owned since 2006 by London & Associated Properties. Mr Brooks has previously been involved in deals with racehorse tycoons John Magnier and JP McManus.
"Brixton Markets were in a state of decline when we acquired them," said the firm's CEO, John Heller.
"We are proud today that they are home to arguably the most vibrant restaurant scene in London." The market generates an annual rent roll of £1.2m (€1.3m).
Mr Brooks is one of the survivors of Ireland's property collapse and the global financial meltdown a decade ago.
His London-based Tribeca Holdings owns a number of shops in the city, including premises at Old Spitalfields Market. He has also acquired properties on the city's prestigious Bond Street and Oxford Street, and done deals in Paris and New York.
Mr Brooks, with an estimated net worth of €300m, began with small apartment deals in Limerick before broadening his empire into global property.
In 2015, Mr Brooks sold a $500m swathe of properties in Manhattan, including stores that were leased to high-end retailers including Hermes and Graff Diamonds on Madison Avenue.
The proceeds were used to buy out fellow shareholders in a €1.4bn property portfolio that included 100 retail outlets in London.