Punch Taverns, the UK’s largest pub operator, has sold 290 managed pubs to private equity group GI Partners for £571m.
The deal includes 136 pubs in south England and Wales, 133 in the north of England and 21 in Scotland. The majority operate as Country Carvery, Q’s or Bar Room Bar.
It is the largest European deal to date for GI Partners, which previously owned Yates Group.
GI Partners plans to combine the newly acquired pubs with the 21 oriental pub-restaurants acquired through its purchase of Noble House Leisure last month for more than £20m.
Rufus Hall, chief executive of Noble House Leisure and previously managing director of Ha! Ha! Bar and Canteen, will head up the combined operation under the Orchid Pubs banner.
Phil Kaziewicz, managing director of GI Partners, said: “Today’s transaction reinforces GI Partners’ position in the leisure sector, which is one of the key areas for our firm’s European investment focus.”
Punch’s chief executive Giles Thorley added: “The transaction represents the first major disposal by Punch following the acquisition of Spirit in January 2006 and is wholly in line with our strategy to streamline the managed house business.”
The properties, which had been in the Spirit Group, are part of a larger selection of 380 pubs announced for disposal in Punch’s interim results last month.
Thorley added the company would continue with its conversion of a further 740 pubs to its core leased estate.
By Emily Manson