British Land has re-entered the pub arena with the £173m acquisition of 65 freehold pubs from the Spirit Group.
For almost 10 years, British Land owned 306 pubs which were let to Scottish & Newcastle (from whom Spirit bought 1,450 pubs in October 2003). All but two have now been sold for a profit.
Spirit will lease the offloaded pubs for 30 years in a deal that includes annual rent rises for 15 years, after which they will revert to open market rents.
Such a sale is seen as a possible prelude to a flotation on the stock market next year that City observers believe could raise as much as £200m.
by Angela Frewin
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