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M&B offloads 333 pubs

Mitchells & Butlers has taken its biggest step yet away from the lower-priced, drinks-led market with the disposal of 333 “non-core” pubs for £373 million.

The pubs have been bought by Stonegate Pub Company, a new set-up controlled by private equity firm TDR Capital.

The firm’s founders were responsible for buying Punch Taverns back in 1998, selling the pub group to a US buyer just a year later for 11 times the original purchase price.

This sale leaves M&B with 1,580 venues, all of which are either restaurants or food-led pubs, including UK wide chains All Bar One and O’Neill’s. In keeping with its strategy announced in March , the group has indicated that money raised from the disposal will be reinvested into “growth opportunities offered in the informal eating out market”.

M&B chief executive Adam Fowle, said: “We are pleased that we have been able to announce the exit from our price sensitive drinks-led pubs and our late night venues in a single transaction.

“This disposal, when combined with the sale of our lodge and bowling businesses, completes the first stage of our strategy.”

Gabriel Savage, 24.08.2010

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