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Mon 4th Nov 2019 - Update: Marston’s and Just Eat
Marston’s sells 137 pubs to Admiral Taverns for £44.9m: Marston’s has reached agreement for the disposal of 137 pubs for £44.9 million to Admiral Taverns. This disposal is in line with Marston’s plans to reduce its debt in part through the disposal of certain non-core assets. The assets being disposed of are smaller wet-led leased, tenanted and franchised pubs. The deal is expected to complete before the end of November. The pubs being disposed of contributed Ebitda of £4.8 million and operating profit of £3.7 million for the year to 28 September 2019. The pubs have a book value of £62.6 million. The disposal will result in average profit per pub in the retained estate increasing by around 7% and return on capital improving by 0.2% post the transaction. Ralph Findlay, Marston’s chief executive, said: “We are making good progress with our plans to reduce our net debt by £200 million by 2023 in part through the disposal of non-core assets. We are encouraged by the level of market interest that this portfolio of pubs has attracted. This further underpins our confidence in achieving the accelerated £70 million disposal proceeds target that we have set ourselves for the current year. We remain focused on our stated objective of reducing our net debt by £200 million by 2023 or earlier, and thereafter operating a high quality business generating consistent net cashflow, after dividends, of at least £50 million per annum.” To support the integration of the pubs in the portfolio which currently operate under retail-agreements, Admiral Taverns has formed a partnership with experienced managed-operator Helen Standing, to facilitate the smooth transition of these pubs to the Admiral platform whilst the group evaluates the longer-term opportunities for these sites. Chris Jowsey, chief executive of Admiral Taverns, said: “This is another exciting acquisition for our business, building on the strong momentum established over the course of the year and on behalf of the entire team I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new licensees and colleagues to Admiral. We remain fully committed to the leased and tenanted model and through this acquisition have been able to acquire an excellent portfolio of pubs which we look forward to developing through our award-winning and highly supportive approach. I’m also very pleased that Helen Standing has agreed to partner with us to support the wider integration programme for some of these pubs. Helen is a highly successful, experienced operator who is well known to our team and we are looking forward to working very closely with her and these pubs.” Christie & Co acted for Marston's on the deal. Noel Moffitt, senior director – corporate pubs and restaurants at Christie & Co, said: “We advised Marston’s the optimal route to value was best realised through marketing the portfolio as a single package. The current lack of opportunity to acquire material portfolios as a group, combined with strong buyer appetite across a range of buyer pools, from family-run pub companies to private equity and international investors resulted in strong interest in the Marston’s portfolio.” 

Takeaway.com to convert merger into offer for Just Eat: Takeaway.com plans to convert its all-share merger with Just Eat into an offer for Just Eat (with an acceptance threshold set at 75% of the voting rights in Just Eat’s share capital. A Just Eat statement added: “The Just Eat board unanimously recommends that Just Eat shareholders accept the Takeaway.com offer. On 22 October 2019, a scheme document was published which set out the full terms and conditions of the Scheme and the Notice of Court Meeting and Notice of General Meeting which had been convened on 4 December 2019. Following the announcement of the switch from the Scheme to the Takeaway.com offer by Takeaway.com, the Just Eat board will adjourn these shareholder meetings indefinitely.Takeaway.com intends to send an offer document, containing further details of the combination and the Takeaway.com offer, to Just Eat shareholders, other than Just Eat Shareholders located in restricted jurisdictions (as defined below) where to do so would violate the laws of that jurisdiction, as soon as reasonably practicable (the “Takeaway.com offer document”). The new timetable for completion of the combination will be set out in the Takeaway.com offer document.”

Former Dishoom chef opens Bristol restaurant: Former Dishoom chef Harris Massey has opened a restaurant in Bristol offering traditional Indian and Chinese dishes alongside cocktails. Massey has launched Rock Salt in partnership with Kedar Subedi, a former chef at the city’s Dhamaka restaurant. Rock Salt has opened in Cotham Hill at a site formerly occupied by tapas restaurant Bellita, which closed during the summer. Dishes at the 35-cover restaurant include lamb raan, kori ghassi and murg butter masala, alongside Mongolian chicken and cocktails such as rose negroni, cinnamon bramble and the signature Rock Salt margarita. Massey told Bristol Live: “Bristol is a city full of food lovers who appreciate independent businesses that are doing something a bit different. Rock Salt is our dream project, where we can curate our own menus and use local respected suppliers.”

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