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Further Expansion For Punch Estate

Punch Taverns has added Avebury Holdings to its rapidly expanding estate in a £219m deal.

The purchase of Avebury, a privately owned tenanted pubs group with 409 community-type outlets in England and Wales, follows Punch’s acquisition of 1,064 pubs from the Innspired Group at the end of last year.

Punch now owns 8,209 hostelries, making it an increasingly viable competitor to the UK’s largest pub operator, Enterprise Inns, which owns more than 8,700 units. Punch’s growth has been impressive, nearly doubling its number of pubs in the last two years, from 4,515 in mid-2003. Punch said it would fund the Avebury acquisition out of existing resources and proceeds from a refinancing, and would not make extensive changes to the pubs it has bought.

Analysts have said that the deal is unlikely to preclude Punch Taverns from bidding for the Spirit Group, its former sister company.

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