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Hands buys Bass pubs

Japanese-owned investment bank Nomura has won the race to buy 988 unbranded pubs from Bass for £625m.

They comprise 981 managed houses and seven tenanted. Employees, together with the 80-strong corporate management team, will transfer to the new owner.

In the year to 30 September, the pubs being sold made pre-tax profits of £75m.

Although they made up just under a third of Bass’s estate, they only contributed 22% of profits to the Bass Leisure Retail division.

Their average sales were about £6,600 a week, against about £13,000 a week for the 2,000 larger outlets Bass has retained.

“We’ve now got a much more focused, branded estate,” a Bass spokesman said.

Last weekend, venture capital firm Legal & General Ventures was tipped at the frontrunner to buy the pubs.

The deal was done by Nomura’s Principal Finance Group, headed by Guy Hands (pictured).

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