Admiral buys Hawthorn for £222.3m

NewRiver has announced the sale of Hawthorn Leisure to Admiral Taverns for a cash consideration of £222.3m.

NewRiver REIT plc has announced the sale of Hawthorn Leisure REIT to Admiral Taverns for a cash consideration of £222.3m.

The sale of Hawthorn, which comprises 674 leased, tenanted and managed community pubs, sees NewRiver exit the pub sector in order to reset its loan to value and provide the funds to reshape its other retail portfolio.

For Admiral Taverns, the acquisition will take the group’s estate to over 1,600 pubs. It will be funded through debt provided by Admiral’s current lenders, together with capital provided by existing investor Proprium Capital Partners. 

“This is one of the biggest acquisitions by Admiral to date and delivers on our strategy to build our estate to 1,500 sustainable pubs," says Chris Jowsey, chief executive of Admiral Taverns (pictured above). "It is a really exciting step forward for the business and we remain committed to the supportive partnership model, which is highly regarded by licensees.  

“Our wet-led, community focused, supportive culture is very much shared by Hawthorn and I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome our new licensees and colleagues to Admiral. The acquisition has allowed us to acquire an excellent portfolio of pubs which we look forward to developing through our award-winning and highly supportive approach.”

Due to the size of the disposal in relation to the size of the company, the deal constitutes a Class 1 transaction and is therefore subject to shareholder approval, expected on 28 July. 

“The last 18 months have shown just how vital the community pub is to the social fabric of this country, and I’m incredibly proud of the role we have played in helping our pub partners and operators not just survive this most challenging period, but to also ensure they’ve been able to come out stronger on the other side," adds Mark Davies, CEO of Hawthorn.

“Chris and the Admiral team will inherit more than 670 thriving community pubs and a fantastic group of highly committed, loyal and talented people, and we wish them and the new owners every success for the future.” 

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