East Midlands pub group acquired by major UK investment manager

A pub group founded in Derbyshire nearly 30 years ago has been acquired by London-based investment manager Downing LLP.

The Pub People Group runs an extensive portfolio of venues in and around East Midlands including the Six Barrel Drafthouse and Bunkers Hill in Nottingham, the Duke of Wellington in Matlock and the Old Coach House at Southwell.

Following its acquisition by Downing, the group has been merged with Autumn Pubs, which has been managed under contract by Pub People since 2012.

Funds managed by Downing will be the majority shareholder in the combined business, which includes 49 pubs in total.

Kevin Sammons, who founded the Alfreton-headquartered pub business in 1993, will transition to a non-executive role with the new company.

Andrew Crawford, previously operations director at Pub People, has been named managing director.

Sammons said: “I am proud to have led and built this successful company, along with the many loyal and exceptional employees who have been important contributors to that success. They can now continue the Pub People journey along with Downing and fulfil their and the Group’s potential. I am extremely grateful for the support Downing has given us over the last 10 years. It is now time for me to step back and hand over to a worthy and capable successor and his team.”

Crawford said: “Kevin and I have worked very well together as a management team for over 20 years. We have together built a company we can be truly proud of, but now there are new chapters to be written. While there are numerous economic challenges on the horizon, we have a strong team and with support from Downing the Group can continue to invest and grow its high-quality pub estate.”

Downing has committed further funding to help the new pub group expand through acquisitions.

Nick Carter, associate director at Downing, said: “Kevin and Andy have been trusted and respected partners of ours for more than a decade. We wish Kevin well and we are excited to take the Group to the next stage under Andy’s direction.”

Colin Corbally, Gautam Chhabra and Nick Carter led the acquisition for Downing, which was advised by Michelmores, HMT and K3 Advisory.

Pub People was advised by Browne Jacobson and BHP.

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