Following the shock announcement this morning that Stonegate has agreed to buy Ei Group and its 4,000 sites, making Stonegate the UK’s largest pub owner – should the deal go through – Longbottom told MA it would be prepared to invest in all aspects of the estate.
“The big thing is investment, we can unlock capital to invest in this pub estate, whether tenanted and leased or managed,” he said.
When asked whether Stonegate was set to change the tenanted and leased model, Longbottom said it was too soon in the buying process to discuss.
Experience around T&L
He added there was a lot of experience around tenanted and leased within both companies and reiterated investment would be a focus.
Longbottom’s previous experience at Greene King would help to ensure the success of the company, he added.
Stonegate and Ei Group deal
“Our rationale has been that these are two great businesses and they would be even better together,” Longbottom said.
“There’s complementary platforms in terms of culture and management, as well as strong skills and experts within both businesses.”
Stonegate also has a strong record of investing in its estate over the past nine years, to the tune of over £200m, he added.
The deal, announced today and worth £1.3bn, will see 4,000 Ei Group properties transfer to Stonegate – owner of brands including Be At One and Walkabout.
More than 760 managed sites
Stonegate currently operates more than 760 managed venues and has been acquiring brands and property incrementally for a decade.
In a statement announcing the buyout, Ei Group chairman Robert Walker, said: “The commercial benefits of combining the companies are compelling.
“Stonegate is committed to continuing to invest in the business for the future benefit of the combined business, tenants and employees.
“The Ei Group board believes this is a combination it can recommend with confidence to shareholders and stakeholders alike.”