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Punch completes Spirit deal

From The Publican


Punch Taverns has confirmed the completion of its £2.7bn acquisition of Spirit Group.

The purchase was originally announced on December 1 last year and given the nod by shareholders at an extra ordinary general meeting on December 30.

Punch, headed by chief executive Giles Thorley, said at the time of the deal that it planned to convert around 750 of Spirit's managed pubs into tenancies.

The group will now begin the task of sifting through the remainder of the Spirit portfolio and assess those pubs it plans to retain until suitable buyers can be found.

Punch has given no indication whether it plans to become - effectively - an operator of managed as well as tenanted operations.

However a number of rival operators are known to be interested in some of the larger, 'golden brick' sites that Punch may deem surplus to requirements.

At the time of the acquisition the group sold more than 200 pubs to property developer Jack Petchey.

Meanwhile Punch's annual report and accounts for 2005 reveals that Mr Thorley made an on-paper gain of £10.1m last year through exercising a number of his share options.

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