Parent group NewRiver REIT has announced that it will explore the potential for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Hawthorn following a strategic review.
The process would see the the 700-strong pub group launched out as a separately-listed company.
Mark Davies, who has been Chief Executive Officer of Hawthorn since 2019 and has been instrumental in driving NewRiver’s pub operations since 2013, will lead the IPO.
Davies also sits on the board of the BBPA, and has been Chief Financial Officer at NewRiver for 12 years, and in leading this new chapter for Hawthorn, will step down from the NewRiver board in due course.
“This is a tremendously exciting and important moment for Hawthorn and represents the next phase in the development of the company," he says.
"NewRiver is, and has been, a strong custodian of this business, helping to build one of the UK’s leading community pub companies, and enabling us in the past 12 months to provide industry-leading support to our pub partners and operators.
“This is the right time to be exploring the IPO opportunity. After building this business over the course of eight years, the NewRiver board has concluded that Hawthorn can grow faster as an independent company and continue to drive towards our shared ambition of making Hawthorn the number-one community pub company in the UK.”
In addition to its tenanted and leased pubs, which account for the majority of the Hawthorn business, the group also has a well-established and scalable Operator-Managed division, which accounts for around 20% of the estate.
The group estimates that around 60% of its pubs have reopened this week after the easing of restrictions on outside trading, with the balance expected to reopen when indoor trading is permitted.
“As many of our Pub Partners and Operators get back to doing what they do best this week – running brilliant community pubs – we are delighted to be sharing this news," adds Davies.
“We look forward to continuing to build the Hawthorn business, to returning to growth and to exploring opportunities to support more pubs and more pub partners.
"In many ways nothing will change and it is business as usual, and our focus will continue to be on building the very best community pub company, with industry-leading support and a people-first approach.”
Hawthorn was created in 2013 through the acquisition of 202 pubs from Marston’s in December 2013.
It then acquired 158 pubs from Punch in September 2015 before the acquisition of the eponymous Hawthorn business in May 2018, which comprised 298 pubs and brought a highly scalable pub operating platform into the enlarged business.
The group was shortlisted for the Best Community Pub Operator at the 2021 Publican Awards.