Admiral acquires Hawthorn for £222.3m

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Portfolio increase: the deal sees Admiral's estate grow to about 1,600 sites (image: Getty/VioletaStoimenova)
Portfolio increase: the deal sees Admiral's estate grow to about 1,600 sites (image: Getty/VioletaStoimenova)

Related tags Finance Admiral taverns Hawthorn leisure Tenanted + leased Pubco + head office

Hawthorn, the Community Pub Company has been sold to Admiral Taverns for an expected gross aggregate cash consideration of about £222.3m, taking the latter’s estate to more than 1,600 sites.

The acquisition of Hawthorn’s 674 predominantly tenanted, leased and operator-managed pubs across England, Wales and Scotland will be funded by Admiral’s current lenders alongside capital by existing investor Proprium Capital Partners.

The deal is a continuation of Admiral’s growth strategy to expand its wet-led community pub portfolio.

Hawthorn CEO Mark Davies said: “Throughout our sale and initial public offering (IPO) process, we have been blown away by the high level of interest that has been expressed in Hawthorn, which is testament to the high-quality business we’ve built and the quality of our people.

“Every investor we met with during the process who got to know Hawthorn spoke very highly of the pubs we own, the way we run our business, and the people within the company.

“In a few short years, Hawthorn has become one of the most well-respected pub-owning companies in the UK, with a best-in-class operating platform, a high-quality management team, and industry-leading licensee satisfaction scores.”

Challenging period

Davies went on to highlight his colleagues and team members at Hawthorn before wishing Admiral the best for the future.

He added: “As CEO of this business, it is a privilege and honour to serve alongside you all. I've always said that the strength of this business is its people, and I’d like to thank every single member of our team, for the fun, challenges and achievements we’ve shared together.

“When we created a community pub company seven years ago, little did we know we would be recognised at the top of our brilliant industry in such a short space of time as a leading leased and tenanted and operator-managed pub company and we can all be very proud.

“The past 18 months have shown just how vital the community pub is to the social fabric of this country, and I’m incredibly proud of the role we have played in helping our pub partners and operators not just survive this most challenging period, but to also ensure they’ve been able to come out stronger on the other side."

Exciting step

Davies said: “Chris Jowsey and the Admiral team will inherit more than 670 thriving community pubs and a fantastic group of highly committed, loyal and talented people, and we wish them and the new owners every success for the future.” 

Admiral chief executive Chris Jowsey said the deal was one of the biggest acquisitions by the pub company to date.

“[It] delivers on our strategy to build our estate to 1,500 sustainable pubs. It is a really exciting step forward for the business and we remain committed to the supportive partnership model, which is highly regarded by licensees,” he added.

“Our wet-led, community focused, supportive culture is very much shared by Hawthorn and I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome our new licensees and colleagues to Admiral. The acquisition has allowed us to acquire an excellent portfolio of pubs which we look forward to developing through our award-winning and highly supportive approach.”

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