Pub giant sold to private equity investor

Punch Pubs has been bought by private equity group Fortress following a series of approaches.

With 1,300 pubs across the UK, Fortress is buying the chain from Patron Capital.

Terms have not been revealed but estimates have been reported of Punch being valued at £1bn. In July, the chain, headquartered in Burton, acquired 56 pubs from Young’s.

Cyril Courbage, managing director, Fortress Investment Group, said CEO of Punch Clive Chesser and the management team had: “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 manages around £41bn in assets and owns brands including Majestic Wines.

It did battle for the Morrisons takeover but was pipped to the post by US rival Clayton, Dubilier and Rice.

Clive Chesser, Punch Pubs & Co. CEO, said: “Fortress is a hugely experienced investor who understands the strengths of our business and fully buys into our strategic positioning and business plan.

“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.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the teams at both Patron Capital and May Capital for the outstanding backing that they have provided during their ownership of the business. Their support has been invaluable over the last four years, none more so of course than during the pandemic.”

Stephen Green, senior partner, Patron Capital, said: “Punch is a fantastic business and has been an extremely successful investment for our investors, thanks to the talent and hard work of the management team and our partner on the investment, May Capital. We wish Clive and the team well for the future with Fortress.”