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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 7th Dec 2020 - Ladhar Group confirms acquisition of Sir John Fitzgerald
Ladhar Group confirms acquisition of Sir John Fitzgerald: The north east-based Ladhar Group has confirmed it has acquired Sir John Fitzgerald, the Newcastle-based pub operator, in a multimillion-pound deal. Propel revealed last week the Ladhar Group, which works in the care, property and leisure sectors, was in exclusive talks to acquire Sir John Fitzgerald, which has 16 managed pubs spread across the north east. The business was working with accountancy firm PwC on the sales process that commenced in September. The David Horgan-led company, which operates a mix of community food-led pubs and city centre wet-led pubs, is believed to have generated Ebitda of just under £3m for the year to January 2020. It is thought that an upfront payment of circa £9m was being asked for the business, which is valued at around £20m. The Ladhar Group, which was built by brothers Amarjit and Baldev Ladhar and is now run by their sons Barry and Michael, operates sites in Newcastle, including Pleased to Meet You, Lady Greys, Central Oven & Shaker, Hop & Cleaver and The Redhouse, plus The Globe in London’s Borough Market, under its Crafted Projects division. Barry Ladhar, director of Crafted Projects which will incorporate the Fitzgerald pubs, said: “We are absolutely delighted to own one of the city’s most iconic companies and to be able to keep it in our home city. The Fitzgerald family has given so much to Newcastle and we are both thankful and proud to have been entrusted with taking on the pub estate that has built up such a superb and well-deserved reputation. We don’t need to tell anyone how difficult 2020 has been but we are very positive about the future. We are seeing tremendous investment in Newcastle and we want to continue to play a big part in that.” The Fitzgerald story started in the 1850s when a young John Fitzgerald decided to make the move from Tipperary in Ireland to England and chose to settle in Newcastle. Since the early 1970s, the company has been run by his great grandson David Horgan. The company’s 16 sites include the Crown Posada, Bridge Hotel, the Bacchus and Fitzgeralds. Ladhar added: “The purchase of Sir John Fitzgerald fits in with our ambitions to ensure the hospitality sector and night-time economy of Newcastle will once again thrive when the pandemic passes. We recognise the importance of the generational family ties to the business and its development, which mirror our own experiences. We are delighted to be able to continue the family ethos that runs throughout the Sir John Fitzgerald group. Sir John Fitzgerald (SJF) has not stood still over the past 125 years, it has retained historic character pubs while developing new, modern pubs and restaurants – as we have. The opportunity for synergy between our respective estates is an exciting one, and one we intend wholeheartedly to embrace. We believe our proven track record; our ability to combine the historic with the new; our emphasis, like SJF, on quality; our local, family base; places us, perhaps uniquely, in an ideal position to move the combined businesses forward for the future generations of patrons. I would like to pay a particular tribute and say thank you on behalf of the region to David and Judy Horgan, for their commitment to and development of SJF and for allowing us the opportunity to be a part of its future. It has been a pleasure going through this process with them. Finally, we remain committed to delivering the White Hart Yard development, which was once owned by Sir John Fitzgerald, and help our brilliant city’s economic and social recovery. We can’t wait to get started.”

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