Pub sector veterans seek backing for acquisitions

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Pub sector veterans seek backing for acquisitions

Related tags: Pub, Investment

Two veterans of the pub and bar industry are looking to raise funds to finance a wave of mergers and acquisitions across the sector

The Times reports​ that Mark McQuater, the former boss of Barracuda Pub Company and Revolution Bars, and Mark Crowther, the former Liberation Group chief executive, are both seeking backing for pub deals.

Crowther, who ran the Channel Islands-based Liberation for 11 years, has been named chairman of Portobello Brewery, an operator of 17 pubs in London owned by Downing Corporate Finance.

“The phone has been ringing off the hook from private equity firms saying they want to get into the sector, he told The Times.

 Crowther also confirmed that Portobello had built an infrastructure and management team capable of expanding and was keen to pick up packages of at least a dozen pubs in London and the southeast.

“We could probably raise anything from £10m to £50m, but that’s not to say that if somebody came along and offered me £200m and said go out and buy some pubs we couldn’t do it,” he said.

Crowther added that there was particular interest from investment firms in freehold pubs, although there was 'not much out there'.

"People seem to be waiting for cheap deals, but I’m not sure there will be that many. I think pubs will bounce back very quickly and strongly when they’re allowed to open.”

The news comes after it emerged last week that Rooney Anand, the former Greene King CEO, has raised £200m to invest in Britain’s pub industry​; betting on the prospects of a post-pandemic recovery for the sector.

Meanwhile, Tim Martin, the founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon, has unveiled a £93.7m equity-raising to bolster the company’s balance sheet, and to 'facilitate the acquisition of new properties​, which are likely to be available at favourable prices as a result of the pandemic'.

Related topics: Business

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