Sources claim that Nicholson’s, Harvester and Crown Carveries may be the obvious brands to come under review for sale if Piedmont succeeds in having a widely-expected improved offer to buy the company accepted.
Analysts believe that the Nicholson’s estate, which comprises 81 city-centre pubs with 44 of them in London, is one obvious candidate for a sell-off.
One source said: “The Nicholson’s estate is one that the family brewers and someone like Greene King would just die for.
“It’s more than 90% freehold and just a fantastic estate — mostly in London but with fantastic sites in major cities including 10 great sites in Scotland.
“It’s not easy to hive it off because it is part of a securitisation, but it’s doable.”
Other analysts argued that M&B would prefer to sell its Crown Carveries estate, which consists of more than 100 sites.
A sale of Harvester would arguably make the biggest dent on the M&B debt pile.
It has around 190 sites with turnover (net of VAT) of around £27,000 per week per site.
“The acquisition of Harvester by Greene King would transform the business, although selling the brand wold be a silly thing for M&B to do.”
M&B currently has net debt of £1.9bn. A sale of Nicholson’s could raise around £250m, according to one estimation.
Harvester is estimated to be worth around £600m. It is thought the possible sale of one or two M&B brands has already been raised at management meetings.