Fortress to buy UK’s Punch Pubs from Patron Capital
By Jenni Reid
12:10, 15 December 2021
Fortress Investment announced it will buy British pub and bar operator Punch Pubs from Patron Capital Partners.
The deal is for 100% of the share capital of Punch Pubs owner Vine Acquisitions. A deal figure was not disclosed, but last week Sky News reported it was about £1bn.
Softbank-owned Fortress said the purchase would be funded entirely through equity from its funds.
Punch Pubs operates 1,300 pubs and is headquartered in Staffordshire, England.
It delisted from the London Stock Exchange in August 2017.
Fortress noted the group’s “resilient business model and a suburban and rural estate has enabled it to weather the ongoing challenges of the pandemic”.
Punch acquired 56 pubs from UK pub chain Young’s for £53m in July.
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“Fortress is a hugely experienced investor who understands the strengths of our business and fully buys into our strategic positioning and business plan,” Punch CEO Clive Chesser said in a press release. “We welcome their ambition and commitment to work alongside the existing management team to invest in the business with innovation and capital to ensure our long-term success in what is a highly competitive market”.
Fortress managing director Cyril Courbage also commented on the deal: “We are excited to team with Clive and the Punch management, which has done an exceptional job of navigating the challenges of the Covid crisis while positioning the business for long-term growth and value creation. The UK is an extremely attractive investment environment, and we will continue to explore other opportunities in this sector and across the UK, Ireland and Europe”.
Fortress was recently defeated in a takeover battle for British supermarket chain Morrisons by US private equity group Clayton, Dubilier and Rice.
UK hospitality sales saw a strong rebound following the lifting of lockdown restrictions in July. Challenges remain, however, particularly with the threat of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.