Urban Pubs & Bars enters into partnership to accelerate growth

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

New partnership: there are plans to roll out more sites
New partnership: there are plans to roll out more sites

Related tags Pubs Alcoholic beverage

Urban Pubs & Bars (UPB), the 21-strong pub company run by Nick Pring and Malcolm Heap, has entered a partnership with Davidson Kempner and Global Mutual to expand the business.

Davidson Kempner, asset management firm and Global Mutual, the international real estate and private equity business, will support the UPB through the new joint venture which will target significant expansion across London and nationally. 

Pring and Heap will continue to lead the business which currently operates the 21 sites across flexible trading formats including the Salt Yard Group in the West End, Bat & Ball at Westfield, Stratford and pubs such as the Punch Tavern in Fleet Street and the Wheatsheaf in Tooting Bec. 

A key element of UPB’s acquisition strategy will be to target ‘Urban Villages’ around London, utilising its ‘Urban Locals’ format that already operates pubs in places such as Highgate, Kensal Rise, Balham and New Cross. UPB said there is scope to more than double this side of the business with key targets already identified. 

New sites

The company also operates three ‘City Bars’ and said it expects to grow this side of the business considerably as workers return to the office and tourists begin to return to central London. Its fourth City site, Nest is due to open in Bishopsgate, opposite Spitalfields Market in late September, it revealed. 

The first new site under the Salt Yard umbrella is due to open in Westfield, London in November with more in the pipeline for the New Year. 

Bat & Ball, the sports bar and experiential games hall offer, that started as a ‘pop-up’ in Westfield six years ago, will shortly move into a permanent home in the, now vacant, Café Football site that sits next door. This will open in January following an investment of £3m. This site will form the blueprint for further expansion of the brand throughout key cities across the UK, it said. 

Exciting times

“These are extremely exciting times for a company that started only seven years ago” said Nick Pring, co-founder. “From our very first discussion, we recognised that Davidson Kempner and Global Mutual shared our ambitions to be a leading player in managed pubs and restaurants. With their support, we will accelerate our expansion plans to identify excellent locations for one of our many trading formats”. 

Malcolm Heap, co-founder added that “The biggest challenge won’t be about finding the sites it is more likely to be around building the team to facilitate such rapid growth. We’ve got some amazing people within our business and for them, there are now even greater opportunities to progress, but the rate of growth we are looking at here will require us to go out into the market to find even more talent that wants to join us on this incredibly exciting journey. We look forward to embarking upon this next stage of the journey with our new partners.” 

Sapient Corporate Finance advised UPB on the transaction. 

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