Mark Davies steps down as Hawthorn CEO as Admiral Taverns completes £222.3m deal: Admiral Taverns has completed its purchase of community pub operator Hawthorn from NewRiver for £222.3m. Mark Davies has stepped down as chief executive of Hawthorn following the deal. NewRiver stated: “In addition, there may be a further amount of up to approximately £4.0m, relating to a pending insurance claim, that is received by Hawthorn following the date of completion and any amount received shall be payable by the purchaser to the company pursuant to the terms of the sale agreement. After adjustment for transaction costs, the company has received net aggregate proceeds from the disposal of about £216.1m. The net aggregate proceeds are expected to be used to reduce net debt, significantly strengthening NewRiver’s balance sheet and accelerating the delivery of the group’s target to reduce group loan-to-value below 40%. The group intends to use approximately £100m of the net aggregate proceeds of the disposal to repay all of the outstanding balance on the revolving credit facility. In conjunction with the completion of the disposal, and further to the announcement made on 28 July 2021, Will Hobman joins the board and becomes chief financial officer of the company (replacing Mark Davies). Davies said: “Running Hawthorn has been a great honour in my career. In seven years, we have built a leading and well-respected community pub company with a high-quality management team, a best-in-class operating platform and industry-leading licensee satisfaction scores. This is a testament to my team, the culture we have created and the way we run our business. When I started my career in professional sport and went on to qualify as a chartered accountant, I never envisaged I would end up growing and leading such a successful pub company. From day one of Hawthorn, I have been touched by the passion and commitment that runs right through this great sector. From the pub partners and operators who do so much for their local communities to the central teams that work so hard to support them, and my fellow chief executives who I have been lucky to get to know and work alongside closely through the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). I have always said Hawthorn’s greatest asset is its people, and I’m hugely proud of the way we have worked with our Pub Partners and operators to help them run great community pubs, in particular during the past 18 months, when the support we provided ensured they could survive the pandemic and come out stronger on the other side. The team I have been fortunate to lead is talented, hard working, committed and loyal, and I’d like to thank them all. Our ambition at Hawthorn was to create the UK’s number one community pub operator, and the decision to explore an initial public offering alongside private sale was taken with the goal of securing the funding to help us grow and realise that objective. We were successful in receiving the strong support of the capital markets and a number of leading private equity firms, which is a testament to the high-quality business and team. In Admiral, we have found a culturally like-minded and supportive operator who will take this business forward. I wish Chris Jowsey and the team every success in the future. To my Hawthorn team, a sincere thank you for all you have done for me and the business. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to grow a new pub company at pace and achieve so much with Hawthorn in a few short years. This has been a wonderful journey and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.” Davies will continue in his roles as a board member of the BBPA, chairman of the BBPA finance committee and chairman of the Welsh Beer & Pub Association, until further notice.
Hawthorn features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which has just been updated for Premium subscribers. Hawthorn has turned over an average of £18.1m in the past five years. The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, and ranks 351 companies according to turnover, pre-tax profit and profit conversion. It also provides details of directors’ earnings and highest paid directors, and now includes Propel insight editor Mark Wingett’s “Propel Pick” – his pick of the companies that are well placed to grow in the post-pandemic era. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Email email@example.com to sign up.