City Pub Group sells package of pubs to Portobello

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Estate growth: Portobello has acquired six sites to its portfolio (image: Getty/Adam Gault)
Estate growth: Portobello has acquired six sites to its portfolio (image: Getty/Adam Gault)

Related tags Finance Multi-site pub operators Property London

Freehold managed pubs firm Portobello Starboard has bought six pubs, including five from multiple operator The City Pub Group as well as a separate seaside venue.

Portobello, which is backed by private equity business Zetland Capital, has exchanged contracts with The City Pub Group to acquire three Brighton pubs – the Lion & Lobster, the Walrus and the Brighton Beach Club.

This was alongside the Inn on the Beach in Hayling Island, Hampshire and the Travellers Friend, Woodford, Essex.

Separately, Portobello has also completed the acquisition of the Grand Victorian pub in Worthing from Dominion Hospitality – an affiliate of Stellex Capital Management.

Geography scale

The site is an 18-bedroom freehold pub with rooms dating back to 1898 and opposite Worthing’s central station.

Portobello is planning an extensive refurbishment programme for the Worthing site as well as developing the adjoining disused nightclub to create a flagship venue with 36 en-suite bedrooms later this year. This will mean the group’s total number of bedrooms across its estate will amount to 58.

Chairman Mark Crowther said: “We are delighted to announce these acquisitions as we progress our strategy of acquiring predominantly freehold managed pubs across London and the south east.

“The south coast sites will give us scale in that geography while also growing our London presence.

“We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues into the Portobello family, while bringing our award-winning beers to the customers of these new pubs.”

Long-term growth

According to The Morning Advertiser​’s sister title MCA​, City Pub Group chairman said the business had achieved a good price for the assets.

He added: “The capital realised makes us debt free and in an excellent position to take advantage of the current market dislocation to further premiumise our estate and deliver long-term growth through selected acquisition.”

The City Pub Group sale to Portobello was brokered by James Grimes at leisure property specialists AG&G.

This follows Portobello’s purchase of 12 freehold pubs​ it had previously been managing in the London area.

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