The Morning Advertiser understands advisers have been hired to look at possible appetite for the package of pubs, which amount to about 1% of the group’s overall estate of about 4.500.
A spokesperson for Stonegate, which has brands including Slug and Lettuce, Popworld and Be At One, declined to comment.
Earlier this year (May), the company unveiled a new premium division to be known internally as the Chapter Collection.
New division details
Made up of premium food-led pubs initially in city centres, the first to open under the collection is the Clerk & Well on Clerkenwell Road, which was previously in the leased division, and has undergone a significant refurbishment.
The proposition was partly inspired by Hippo Inns, which Stonegate acquired the remaining 25% earlier this year, with Hippo’s executive chef Lee McMullen helping with menu development.
The launch of the division, which will be overseen by manage MD Helen Charlesworth, came after the company identified a gap in its premium food offer.
In March last year, investment vehicle RedCat acquired 42 pubs from Stonegate for an undisclosed sum. The sites were mainly in the south east (25), 11 in the north of England, two in the Midlands and four in Wales.
The package was a combination of 14 managed pubs and 28 tenanted with half of the managed venues in London.
Just as the coronavirus pandemic hit, Stonegate became the largest pub operator thanks to its purchase of Ei Group for £1.27bn.
The deal was first announced in July 2019 where Ei Group’s entire business was valued at almost £3bn including its debt and adjusted for the disposal of its 370 commercial properties.
In September, Ei shareholders gave the acquisition near unanimous approval with 96.57% voting in favour.
A month later, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) started investigating the deal before it passed the acquisition after the pubcos satisfied the watchdog that a set number of pubs would be sold to avoid potential monopolies.