Fortress Investment Group (‘Fortress’) today announced the acquisition of 100%, along with existing management, of the share capital of Vine Acquisitions Limited (‘Punch Pubs & Co.’) from Patron Capital Partners (‘Patron’). The transaction is entirely funded by equity provided by funds managed by Fortress affiliates, with no additional debt finance, with existing management maintaining its equity ownership.
Punch Pubs & Co., led by Chief Executive Officer Clive Chesser, is one of the UK’s leading pub companies with 1,300 pubs across the UK.
Its strategy focuses on running the best community pubs, led by passionate and independent publicans via a specialist multi-model platform to deliver the optimum return.
Punch’s resilient business model and a suburban and rural estate has enabled it to weather the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, culminating in the acquisition of 56 pubs from Young’s Ram Pub Company in July.
Cyril Courbage, Managing Director, Fortress Investment Group, said: “We are excited to team with Clive and the Punch management, which has done an exceptional job of navigating the challenges of the Covid crisis while positioning the business for long-term growth and value creation. We believe in providing strong management teams with the flexibility and support to execute their long-term strategic plans. The UK is an extremely attractive investment environment, and we will continue to explore other opportunities in this sector and across the UK, Ireland and Europe.”
Clive Chesser, Punch Pubs & Co. CEO, said: “This is very positive news for everyone connected with Punch, and we are extremely excited about the opportunity that lies ahead with Fortress Investment Group. Fortress is a hugely experienced investor who understands the strengths of our business and fully buys into our strategic positioning and business plan. We welcome their ambition and commitment to work alongside the existing management team to invest in the business with innovation and capital to ensure our long-term success in what is a highly competitive market.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the teams at both Patron Capital and May Capital for the outstanding backing that they have provided during their ownership of the business. Their support has been invaluable over the last four years, none more so of course than during the pandemic.”
Stephen Green, Senior Partner, Patron Capital, said: “Punch is a fantastic business and has been an extremely successful investment for our investors, thanks to the talent and hard work of the management team and our partner on the investment, May Capital. We wish Clive and the team well for the future with Fortress.”
Fortress was advised by Rothschild and Co (lead financial advisor) and HSBC (joint financial advisor) with Sidley Austin LLP providing legal advice.
Patron was advised by Barclays Bank PLC and Hogan Lovells.