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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 30th May 2014 - Breaking News - Amber Taverns sold to MXP Partners for £80m
Amber Taverns sold to MXP Partners for £80m: Community pub operator Amber Taverns has been sold by Legal and General Capital (LGC) for £80m to MXP Partners. The new owner, a founding shareholder of the business, has backed the existing management team, led by Clive Preston, James Baer and Bryan Wardman. BlueBay Asset Management’s Direct Lending Fund has also provided finance for the transaction. Under the new deal, Amber, which operates 95 pubs, will be looking to continue to grow the size of its estate across Northern England, the Midlands and Wales over the forthcoming years. The company typically acquires distressed and failing freehold pubs and revitalises them through a combination of significant investment and a consistent value for money offer, transforming previously unloved sites into viable and sustainable businesses at the very heart of their local community. Amber remains on track to have 100 pubs open by the end of 2014 and sites are secured for a further five pubs to open over the next six months. Average Ebitda per Amber Taverns pub stood at £109,000 last year. Paul Landsman, of Legal & General Capital, said: “Amber Taverns has been an excellent investment for LGV Capital. We have backed the business during a period of significant growth, almost doubling the size of the estate and more than doubling turnover and Ebitda under our three years of ownership. We have a strong track record of investing in high quality asset-backed businesses with first class management teams and Amber has been no exception. The Amber investment has been a great example of LGC in action, benefiting policyholders, shareholders and wider stakeholders by backing best in class management, delivering market leading growth, and above all enhancing local communities through job creation and reinvestment in otherwise moribund businesses. We would like to thank the entire senior management team and all the staff for their hard work in making this a successful investment for all stakeholders. We wish them well for the future and are confident of their continued success.” Amber Taverns’ chairman Clive Preston said: “The board of Amber Taverns is delighted to have a new partner to continue the buy and build strategy of the group. The continuing success of our business is proof that the traditional ‘wet-led’ pub is alive and well, and quality venues in a good location with a competitive offer will thrive. Our customers want to enjoy great pubs in their local community which offer value for money and which also screen the best sporting events and we are delivering exactly that. The guidance and support we have received from LGC has been invaluable in achieving the ambitious expansion plans we have pursued since their investment in 2010 and we look forward to the next chapter for Amber Taverns’ continued development with MXP Partners.” Michael George, founder of MXP Partners said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to re engage with the management team with whom we founded the company in 2005. Given MXP’s prior relationship with management and knowledge of the business, MXP were uniquely placed to acquire the business in a short period of time. By leading a select group of co investors in this transaction, MXP have completed another investment into a high quality, established growth investment. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to further expand and improve the business over the medium term.”

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