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Tue 31st Aug 2021 - Exclusive: Urban Pubs and Bars partners with Davidson Kempner and Global Mutual to accelerate expansion
Exclusive – Urban Pubs and Bars partners with Davidson Kempner and Global Mutual to accelerate expansion: Urban Pubs and Bars, led by Nick Pring and Malcolm Heap, has entered into partnership with Davidson Kempner and Global Mutual to support and accelerate the growth of the company, Propel has learned. Pring and Heap will continue to lead the business as the new joint venture targets significant expansion across London and nationally. Urban Pubs and Bars operates 21 sites across flexible trading formats including the Salt Yard Group in the West End, Bat & Ball at Westfield Stratford and pubs such as the Punch Tavern in Fleet Street and the Wheatsheaf in Tooting Bec. A key element of Urban Pubs and Bars acquisition strategy will be “urban villages” around London, utilising its successful “Urban Locals” format that already operates pubs in places such as Highgate, Kensal Rise, Balham and New Cross. With the support of its new partners, there is scope to more than double this side of the business with key urban villages already identified. Urban Pubs and Bars also operates three “City bars” and expects to grow this side of the business considerably as workers return to the office and tourists begin to return to central London. Its fourth City site, Nest, is due to open in Bishopsgate, opposite Spitalfields Market, in late September. Salt Yard, which Urban Pubs and Bars acquired in 2018, consists of four sites offering Spanish and Italian tapas. The first new site under the Salt Yard umbrella is due to open in Westfield London in November with more in the pipeline for the new year. Bat & Ball, the multi-faceted sports bar and experiential games hall offer that started as a “pop-up” in Westfield (Stratford) six years ago, will shortly move into a permanent home in the, now vacant, Café Football site that sits next door. This will open in January following an investment of £3m. This site will form the blueprint for further expansion of the concept throughout key cities across the UK. Pring said: “These are extremely exciting times for a company that started only seven years ago. From our very first discussion, we recognised Davidson Kempner and Global Mutual shared our ambitions to be a leading player in managed pubs and restaurants. With their support, we will accelerate our expansion plans to identify excellent locations for one of our many trading formats.” Heap added: “The biggest challenge won’t be about finding the sites it is more likely to be around building the team to facilitate such rapid growth. We’ve got some amazing people within our business and for them, there are now even greater opportunities to progress, but the rate of growth we are looking at here will require us to go out into the market to find even more talent that wants to join us on this incredibly exciting journey. We look forward to embarking upon this next stage of the journey with our new partners.” Urban Pubs and Bars was founded in 2014 by Pring and Heap following the sale of their prior business, Realpubs, to brewer and retailer Greene King. Its ethos focuses on “acquiring the best sites and recruiting exceptional operators who are passionate about food and drink”. Urban Pubs and Bars said establishing the right offer and investing in the right areas is key, and devoting time and attention to the team that operate those sites is a major part of that investment. In 2018, Urban Pubs and Bars was ranked number 28 in the Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 list, recognising Britain's private companies with the fastest-growing sales. Davidson Kempner is a global institutional alternative asset management firm with more than 30 years’ experience. Global Mutual is an international real estate and private equity business founded in 2008. The firm, headquartered in London and Los Angeles, currently manages more than £5bn of investments across a broad range of sectors and strategies. Sapient Corporate Finance advised Urban Pubs and Bars on the transaction. Separately, in January 2019, Davidson Kempner and Global Mutual backed Tavern Propco on its acquisition of the circa 370-strong commercial properties estate from Ei Group. 
Urban Pubs and Bars features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which has recently been updated for Premium subscribers. Urban Pubs and Bars has turned over an average of £16.1m in the past four 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 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.


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