Exclusive – Urban Pubs & Bars buys 13 Barworks sites: London bar group Barworks has sold 13 of its 19 sites to Urban Pubs & Bars. The geography of the portfolio is highly complementary to Urban’s existing estate sites, expanding its presence in East and North London in attractive neighbourhoods such as Shoreditch, Clerkenwell and Camden. The acquisition includes iconic sites such as the Exmouth Arms (Exmouth Market), Singer Tavern (Moorgate) and Harrild & Sons (Farringdon). The transaction comes on the back of Urban’s recently announced partnership with Davidson Kempner and Global Mutual. The joint venture was established to support and accelerate the growth of Urban and the Barworks transaction is the first acquisition of scale, increasing Urban’s number of sites by more than 50%. Following the acquisition of the Barworks sites, Urban will comprise 34 pubs, bars and restaurants across flexible trading formats including the highly acclaimed Salt Yard Group in the West End, Bat & Ball at Westfield (Stratford) and neighbourhood pubs in affluent locations such as Balham and Highgate. In addition to the Barworks acquisition, Urban has recently opened two new sites: Fleet’s at St Paul’s and Nest in Bishopsgate. Nick Pring, co-founder of Urban, said: “We’ve known the guys at Barworks for many years. They have some wonderful sites in prime locations. We are delighted to be able to acquire so many iconic pubs that complement our existing estate perfectly.” Malcolm Heap, co-founder of Urban, added: “It is great to find such a quality acquisition so shortly after completing on our own transaction to raise capital with new partners. The pubs being acquired will strengthen our business and we look forward to welcoming their amazing people into Urban.” Barworks will continue to operate with an estate of six sites that includes Mare Street Market, plus the opening of Gas Station this week in Kings Cross and a site in Heddon Street in Mayfair in the coming months. Marc Francis-Baum, co-founder and managing director of Barworks, said: “We received a fair offer from Urban and we took it. We felt it was a good idea to ‘cash in some chips’, consolidate and move forward. We still have a great business, plus a fantastic pipeline of sites and we’ve never had ambitions to be the biggest pub group in London, we just like creating spaces that people want to be in and will continue to do so.” Barworks was founded in 1996 by Andreas Akerlund, Patrik Franzen and Marc Francis-Baum. Privately owned by the three founders, they have never had any outside investment. Over the last 25 years have built a mix of various of eclectic pubs, bars and restaurants including the highly acclaimed Mare Street Market. The three partners also co-founded Camden Town Brewery with Jasper Cuppaidge and East London Liquor Co with Alex Wolpert. Camden Town Brewery was sold to AB InBev in 2016. They were also major investors in Hawkes Cider that sold to BrewDog in 2018. Sapient Corporate Finance advised Urban Pubs & Bars on the transaction and AG&G acted for Barworks.