Stonegate looking to sell 'around 1,000' pubs as part of long-term strategy

01 February 2023 by
Stonegate looking to sell 'around 1,000' pubs as part of long-term strategy

Britain's biggest pub group is looking to sell around 1,000 of its sites, three years after snapping up a rival chain for an estimated £1.27b.

Bloomberg reports that Stonegate Pub Company, which owns the Be At One and Slug and Lettuce brands, is planning to offload around one fifth of its pubs for an estimated £800m.

Stonegate became the largest pub company in the UK when it acquired rival chain Ei Group in 2020, taking it to around 4,500 sites. At the time, around one quarter of these were in its managed division while the majority were leased and tenanted businesses.

It is understood the reduction in its estate is part of a longer-term strategy for the group and a sale is not expected to be imminent.

Stonegate, which is owned by private equity firm TDR Capital, is understood to have been looking to convert many of its leased and tenanted pubs to managed operations.

Bloomberg reports Stonegate has a debt pile of £2.6b. The group reported a pre-tax loss of £233m in the year to 26 September 2021 after pandemic restrictions hit trading, down from a £746m loss the in the previous 12 months.

It comes after rival chain JD Wetherspoon put around 45 pubs up for sale at the end of last year. The group's chairman Tim Martin warned pubs faced a challenge to attract back customers who had become used to buying cheaper supermarket beer during lockdown.

A recent trading update from JD Wetherspoon said 35 pubs remained on the market in January.

Stonegate and TDR Capital declined to comment.

Image: Electric Egg / Shutterstock

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