Speaking at MCA’s Managed Pub Conference this week, Hansen said that the M&A market was more balanced between buyers and sellers than it had been for some time. But he warned that while it was stronger than five years ago it was still not buoyant.
He reiterated his view that continuing headwinds were likely to make life tough for smaller operators and thus create opportunities for “bolt on” acquisitions.
He said provided sellers are realistic about the value they want for their business, it was likely there would be “several transactions in the next two years”.
However, he stressed there have already been at least two aborted deals in the last year due to price.
He told the conference: “Private equity is always interested in well-managed businesses with roll-out potential and there’s no reason to indicate that will change.”
Hansen also stressed that the historic gap between growth in managed and tenanted pubs had narrowed over the past few years and that tenanted groups appeared to have stabilised performance. He also pointed out there were some significant headwinds – such as the apprenticeship levy – which would impact on managed companies but bypass those in the tenanted sector.