Chester pubs group swoops for chain in £222m deal

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Admiral Taverns, the Chester-based pubs group, has acquired Hawthorn, the Solihull pub chain, in a deal worth £222.3m.

Hawthorn has been sold by its owner NewRiver REIT.

Admiral Taverns has 674 managed pubs and the deal will see it add to its approximately 1,000 wet-led venues in England, Wales and Scotland.

Allan Lockhart, chief executive of NewRiver, said: “Over recent years, we have grown Hawthorn to become the UK’s leading community and wet-led pub business.

“As a consequence of this, we received significant interest from a range of potential buyers for Hawthorn, following the divestment plan we announced in April 2021.

“We have now agreed the sale of Hawthorn which, once completed, will deliver on our key priority to reset Loan to Value, strengthening our balance sheet and enabling us to focus on executing our resilient retail strategy.”

He added: “I would like to thank the entire Hawthorn team and, in particular, Mark Davies, who the board had previously mandated to lead the divestment of Hawthorn, for their professionalism and dedication throughout the process, which has delivered a great result for NewRiver shareholders.

“Alongside the new dividend policy which we announced recently in our full year results, and increased transactional evidence in the parts of the retail investment market that we are focused on, we look forward with genuine confidence.”

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