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Punch strikes and burst through 8,000 barrier

18 July 2005

Punch Taverns has swallowed up Avebury Taverns, taking its haul of UK pubs past the 8,000 mark.

The company has paid £219m, which includes £120m of debt, for just over 400 Avebury pubs.

Avebury was formed in 1997 and underwent a management buyout in 2004, which saw it refocus its business and sell 253 smaller pubs to Admiral Taverns in June of this year.

More than 95% of Avebury's estate is freehold or long leasehold, and primarily community locals.

Giles Thorley, chief executive of Punch, said: "Avebury is a natural fit with Punch's existing pub portfolio and brings further geographic spread and diversity from a high-quality estate."

Punch said the cash part of the deal, about £125m, would come from reserves and that contracts would be signed by next month.

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