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Wed 30th Oct 2013 - Realpubs founders to launch new company
Realpubs founders to launch new company: Nick Pring and Malcolm Heap, who sold Realpubs to Greene King for £53.1m, are looking to buy up to ten pubs in London as they plan to launch a new company that will seek to evolve the Realpubs premium offer. The business partners left Greene King at the end of April, and a six-month non-compete clause elapsed this week. Pring told Propel: “We would like to pick up a package of pubs to get us started – a group of between six and ten pubs would be ideal. We will be looking at everything, including free-of-tie commercial leases and tied leases. There are lots of opportunities out there. If it’s not possible, we are happy to go the route of cherry-picking pubs in ones and twos. We are starting a new company and we’re chomping at the bit to get going. We’re looking to get the property pipeline moving, and trading by February or March next year.” Pring said the new company, which is without a name at the moment, would focus on London: “It’s about being able to get around them on my bike,” he said. “We’ll be looking to create an evolution of the Realpubs offer.” Pring and Heap are already directors of London Ordinaries, a company led by Michael Buurman that runs two pubs. It has won rave reviews for its second opening, the Crooked Billet in Upper Clapton, East London, an Enterprise Inns free-of-tie lease. The company has built an outside bar to cope with customer numbers. The Crooked Billet re-opened as a “drinking pub” as compared to the company’s other pub, The Empress of India in Homerton, East London, a pub acquired from Tom and Ed Martin’s ETM Group in March 2011, which is more food-focused. Pring said: “We’re involved in London Ordinaries at a distance.” The acquisition of Realpubs in 2011 by Greene King has been a success, with the first site outside London, the Anchor in Cambridge, converted to the premium format this month. Industry sources have even suggested that Greene King will attempt to use its Realpubs format in transport hub sites in the future. On Greene King, Pring said: “We still have a very good relationship with Greene King.” Last month, Propel reported that Heap, who will be spending several weeks this winter following the Ashes in Australia, has become chairman of the London brewery Truman's, which has opened a site in Hackney Wick. James Morgan, managing director of Truman's, which has taken the name of a former London brewery that closed in 1989, said at the time: “With Malcolm’s arrival, we have the team to make Truman’s a great name in British brewing once again. Malcolm’s industry experience is immense and, most importantly, he shares my passion for Truman’s and everything that it stands for.”

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