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Mon 29th Nov 2021 - Fortress Investment Group approaches Punch over £1bn takeover
Fortress Investment Group approaches Punch over £1bn takeover: The owners of Punch Pubs & Co, one of Britain's biggest pub operators, are exploring a sale of the company after receiving a string of approaches despite ongoing pandemic-related uncertainty. Sky News reports Fortress Investment Group, the US-based investor owned by Japan's SoftBank, is in talks to buy Punch for a price believed to be in the region of £1bn. City sources said on Monday (29 November) the talks were “serious” but said they were far from certain to result in a deal. Other parties are also said to have approached Punch, which is controlled by Patron Capital Partners, and it was unclear whether Fortress had formal exclusivity in its negotiations. If completed, a takeover of Punch, which owns about 1,300 pubs across Britain, would be among the sector's largest since the start of the pandemic. In 2017, Patron and May Capital acquired control of the whole of what was then called Punch Taverns and its 3,200-strong estate. The majority of its pubs – approximately 1,900 – were then sold to Heineken, leaving the remainder under the ownership of the new shareholders. Earlier this year, Punch secured a £600m bond refinancing deal, and followed that by announcing the acquisition of Young's tenanted pub estate, comprising roughly 50 sites, for about £50m. In the prospectus for the bond issue – prior to the Young's deal – Punch's real estate portfolio was valued at £850m, implying the company could be valued at about £900m. One analyst said its overall enterprise value, which includes its borrowings, could be in the region of £1.5bn. Fortress, Punch, Patron Capital and May Capital all declined to comment.
Punch features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is updated monthly for Premium subscribers. Punch turned over £178.7m in its most recent financial year. The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, ranks 456 companies according to turnover, pre-tax profit and profit conversion. It also provides details of directors’ earnings and highest paid directors. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year, whether they are an operator or a supplier, which for one day only on Tuesday (30 November) is available for a £100 discount at £795 plus VAT to celebrate Propel’s tenth birthday. 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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