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Wed 15th Dec 2021 - Fortress acquires Punch from Patron Capital
Fortress acquires Punch from Patron Capital: Fortress Investment Group, the US-based investor owned by Japan's SoftBank, has announced it has acquired Punch Pubs & Co from Patron Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum. The company said: “Fortress today announces the acquisition of 100%, along with existing management, of the share capital of Vine Acquisitions (“Punch Pubs & Co”) from Patron Capital Partners. The transaction is entirely funded by equity provided by funds managed by Fortress affiliates, with no additional debt finance, with existing management maintaining its equity ownership.” It was reported last month that Fortress was in talks to acquire Punch for a price believed to be in the region of £1bn. Punch, which is led by chief executive Clive Chesser, currently operates 1,300 pubs across the UK. It said its “resilient business model and a suburban and rural estate has enabled it to weather the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, culminating in the acquisition of 56 pubs from Young’s Ram Pub Company in July”. Cyril Courbage, managing director, Fortress Investment Group, said: “We are excited to team with Clive and the Punch management, which has done an exceptional job of navigating the challenges of the covid crisis while positioning the business for long-term growth and value creation. We believe in providing strong management teams with the flexibility and support to execute their long-term strategic plans. The UK is an extremely attractive investment environment, and we will continue to explore other opportunities in this sector and across the UK, Ireland and Europe.” Chesser said: “This is very positive news for everyone connected with Punch, and we are extremely excited about the opportunity that lies ahead with Fortress Investment Group. Fortress is a hugely experienced investor that understands the strengths of our business and fully buys into our strategic positioning and business plan. We welcome its ambition and commitment to work alongside the existing management team to invest in the business with innovation and capital to ensure our long-term success in what is a highly competitive market. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the teams at both Patron Capital and May Capital for the outstanding backing that they have provided during their ownership of the business. Their support has been invaluable over the last four years, none more so of course than during 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. Stephen Green, senior partner, Patron Capital, said: “Punch is a fantastic business and has been an extremely successful investment for our investors, thanks to the talent and hard work of the management team and our partner on the investment, May Capital. We wish Clive and the team well for the future with Fortress.”

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