Pubs giant Stonegate calls time on 75-strong portfolio

July 01, 2022

Britain's biggest pubs operator is exploring a sale of a 75-strong portfolio that could command a price-tag of up to £100m.

Sky News has learnt that Stonegate Group, which owns the Slug & Lettuce and Be At One brands, has hired advisers to gauge potential buyers' appetite for the pubs, which are located mainly in London and south-east England.

City sources said that Eastdil, the real estate investment bank, and Sapient Corporate Finance had been engaged to work on the deal.

The sale process comes as the hospitality industry grapples with soaring inflation and labour shortages across the sector, with industry bosses warning of huge challenges in the months ahead.

The portfolio of Free-of-Tie pubs being earmarked for sale by Stonegate, which has been given the code-name Project Silver, accounts for only a tiny proportion of the company's overall estate.

Stonegate is controlled by the private equity firm TDR Capital, which also has big stakes in businesses such as Asda and the petrol retailing giant, EG Group.

It is run by industry veteran Simon Longbottom, who has held the role since 2014.

One insider said the Project Silver assets were high-quality pubs converted from across the Stonegate empire.

The process comes as other pub operators, including Blackpool-based Amber Taverns, are also engaged in sale processes.

A Stonegate spokeswoman declined to comment.

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