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Fri 24th Jan 2020 - Exclusive: Hawthorn Leisure acquires 29-strong package of Marston’s pubs
Exclusive – Hawthorn Leisure acquires 29-strong package of Marston’s pubs: Hawthorn Leisure, the pub operations arm of NewRiver, has acquired a 29-strong package of pubs from Marston’s for an undisclosed sum, Propel has learned. Propel understands Hawthorn acquired the pubs, which are spread across England and Wales, in an off-market deal this week. Hawthorn Leisure and Marston’s both declined to comment on the deal. The disposal by Marston’s is part of the company’s plans to reduce its borrowings by £200m by 2023. Earlier today the Ralph Findlay-led company said it was focused on achieving that target as quickly as possible, principally through the acceleration of its disposal programme. In the year to date, the brewer and pub operator has completed or exchanged on £60m of disposals. Having originally targeted £40m of disposal proceeds, it increased that to £70m in November and today further increased the target to £85m to £90m. The newly acquired pubs will be added to Hawthorn’s circa 660-strong estate. In December, Hawthorn acquired 44-strong community pub company Bravo Inns for £17.9m. Earlier this week Hawthorn Leisure chief executive Mark Davies told Propel the company would consider looking at the 42 sites set to hit the market as part of Stonegate Pub Company’s £3bn takeover of Ei Group – perhaps in partnership with another operator. “What we know from the Competition and Markets Authority is the sites are set to be sold in three packages,” said Davies. “Given the type of sites, I don’t think there are too many buyers for the whole lot so I think you’ll see a range of interest from companies, including ourselves. In terms of a partnership with another operator, I think that’s an option we would look at.”

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