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Laurel buys Yates for £202m

23 May 2005

The £202m sale of pub and restaurant operator Yates to the Laurel Pub Company was confirmed on Friday (20 May).

The integration of the two estates will create a group with more than 300 sites.

The 160-strong Laurel Pub Company, which was formed in 2001 after a buyout from Whitbread, was acquired by Iranian property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz last December for £151m. Yates was one of the bidders for the group.

Yates was acquired by Thorium, a UK subsidiary of private equity firm GI Partners, last autumn for £155m.

The group operates 126 Yates bars, 23 food-led Ha!Ha! Bars, and the Forno Vivo restaurant in Tring, Hertforshire. Earlier this year, it bought seven mostly Mexican-themed restaurants under the Santa Fe name.

It is unclear at this stage what impact the takeover by Laurel will have on Yates's £60-£75m bid for the struggling SFI pub group which it tabled last March. However, Tchenguiz himself has also been linked to a bid for SFI.

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