Commercial property investor Active Asset Investment Management (AAIM) has vowed to increase its presence in the UK pub market following the purchase of 279 venues from Marston's in May.
The deal, which saw the tenanted pubs sold for £82.5m on 10 May, marked AAIM's first foray into the pubs market, and it will not be their last, according to James Elton, chief operating officer at the company.
"We bought them because they represent a good investment opportunity for us," he told Caterer. "The yield on pubs is still very good, even on some of the less fashionable pubs in the market. If there were more deals to be done we would certainly look for them."
AAIM, which facilitates commercial property investments for private investors including Sir Alex Ferguson, Simon Cowell and Sir David Frost, has placed the portfolio under the control of Scottish and Newcastle (S&N) Pub Enterprises, forming Discovery Pub Company.
S&N Pub Enterprises is now in the process of placing pubs within its 2,000-strong portfolio under the management control of Discovery to create a 400-strong pub portfolio. Any further purchases by AAIM will also be managed by S&N.
Jeremy Blood, chief executive of S&N Pub Enterprises, said: "The 279 pubs were of a slightly smaller size and with a slightly smaller average turnover per pub to what Marston's normally runs. As a portfolio they will now get more attention and focus."
AAIM is no stranger to the hospitality business - it teamed up with Robert Tchenguiz's investment vehicle R20 last October to form Piccadilly Hotels, which acquired the 15 hotels of Menzies Group for £180m and in January spent £320m on a hotel portfolio in a deal with Principal Hotels.
By Christopher Walton
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