Anand – who led Greene King for 15 years – is expected to embark on a series of acquisitions in the coming months with the backing of an unnamed US-based private equity firm.
Sources close to his vehicle, Redcat Pub Company, said Anand was unlikely to pursue large corporate takeovers in the short term but would instead focus on smaller deals with scope for improving operational performance.
Anand, who left Greene King in 2019 before joining Casual Dining Group as chairman, is said to be working on the assumption that the eventual end of social distancing will trigger a resurgence for the pub sector, which has been badly impacted by lockdowns.
A spokesperson for Redcat declined to comment.
News of Anand's investment plans follows reports that Gerry Carroll and Mark McGinty, co-founders of Hawthorn and James Croft, former group strategy and retail director at Ei Group, also announced their intentions to re-enter the UK pub market with the launch of the Valiant Pub Company.
According to James Shorthouse, head of alternative markets at Colliers International, Anand's announcement is further confirmation of the “long-term confidence” held by experienced operators and investors in the UK pub sector. “The rapid recovery which many pubs saw in the summer of 2020 underlines how they are an important a part of the UK leisure experience, and the appetite that the British public have for good quality food and beverage experiences,” he told The Morning Advertiser.
“We fully expect 2021 to present a number of opportunities for new entrants and existing operators to acquire assets, individually or in packages, as the market rebounds from the series of lockdowns and the vaccines take effect.”