Noble House to buy Whitbread pubs

Related tags Noble house leisure Takeover Whitbread

Noble House Leisure, the private pub group run by Robert Breare (pictured), has confirmed it will buy 44 pub-restaurants from Whitbread. The deal,...

Noble House Leisure, the private pub group run by Robert Breare (pictured)​, has confirmed it will buy 44 pub-restaurants from Whitbread.

The deal, valued just over £30m, will see Noble take control of eight Dragon Inns, Whitbread's Thai-based pub and restaurant concept, and 36 Beefeater and Brewers Fayre sites.

The 44 pubs were among a number of restaurants put on sale by Whitbread last May in a disposal programme of underperforming outlets.

Whitbread has so far generated £2bn through disposals. The bulk of its estate was bought by Laurel Pub Company, the Morgan Grenfell Private Equity vehicle, in May.

The group is to off-load its Pelican restaurants, comprising mainly the Cafe Rouge and Bella Pasta chains, in the wake of ailing financial figures.

Whitbread will release the long-awaited review of its restaurant business next month.

Breare's company is said to be sitting on a £250m war-chest, set aside for acquisitions.

Most famously, it was in the running for Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries, with Pubmaster, in the aborted £485m hostile takeover bid.

Breare's vehicle, which is backed by Botts, Hermes and Bank of Scotland, also eyed Old English Inns before it was bought by Greene King.

Most recently, Breare was linked to Eldridge Pope. He was said to be preparing a £65m bid for the company.

Related stories:

Noble House Leisure "in talks" to buy Old English Inns (16 August 2001)

Pubs sale gives Whitbread "flying start" (02 May 2001)

Two bidders swoop on Wolves (20 April 2001)

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