As part of the partnership, Fuller’s will also acquire the freehold of The Bull Hotel in Bridport, Dorset. The hotel - which has 19 boutique bedrooms - had a stable at the rear, which became the site of the first pizza and cider restaurant.
The plan is to expand the business further into the south of England. “Fuller’s investment in the company will allow the Coopers to realise their expansion plans and the business will still run under their leadership.”
The Stable is led by entrepreneurs Richard and Nikki Cooper.
Under the deal, Fuller’s is investing £7.3m for the 51 per cent share, as well as the freehold of The Bull Hotel and there is an option to increase this investment in the future. It is anticipated that the transaction will be broadly earnings neutral in the first year, the company said.
Fuller’s said: “The Stable has a clear brand proposition which is characterful and distinctive and provides a unique and complementary addition to Fuller’s growing premium food and drink portfolio. Fuller’s expertise of operating in the wider southern counties, as well as years of experience at multi-site operations, will help with the roll out of the business.”
Nikki Cooper said: “We’ve spent the last four and a half years of our life building up The Stable and we wanted to ensure we had a partner with a similar culture and ethos. We like the way Fuller’s does business and we like the fact it is a family concern. The Stable is a sociable and fun operation with a focus on high quality, seasonal ingredients, craft ciders and, above all, caring and friendly service – so we wanted to work with people who are like minded and we found this in Fuller’s.”
Jonathon Swaine, managing director of Fuller’s Inns, said: “We knew we wanted to work with Richard and Nikki the minute we set foot in The Stable. It’s everything we value at Fuller’s – a commitment to freshly cooked, local food, a wide range of interesting premium drinks, a genuine focus on people development and a long term vision of where the business is going.
“The Stable has a very clear brand proposition and appeals to a demographic that is perfectly in tune with Fuller’s existing customer base. Richard and Nikki’s entrepreneurial skills will be an asset to Fuller’s and we can add our experience of operating in the wider southern counties, as well as years of experience at multi-site operations, to their business. We believe The Stable has great potential to expand across our core southern trading area. It’s an exciting time for both of us.”