North-east pub operator Honeycombe Leisure has put itself up for sale.
After a six-month review of the business, the board of the Alternative Investment Market-listed company has decided a sale is best to maximise value for its shareholders.
Investment banking firm Rothschild has been appointed to handle the auction process of the 115-strong pub estate valued at £36.5m.
Honeycombe was in talks with a third party about a sale of the business following an approach last autumn, but terminated discussions in May of this year.
In the year to 1 May 2005, Honeycombe reported a pre-tax loss of £800,000 compared with a loss of £100,000 for the previous year. Turnover grew by 7.7% to £36.24m.
In May, Honeycombe boss Bryan Wardman stepped down from his joint chief executive role at the company to pursue new challenges. Wardman originally joined the company as managing director in 1991.
By Chris Druce