Liberation Group acquires 21 pubs from Wadworth and Company

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Channel Islands pub and restaurant business the Liberation Group has announced that its Bristol-based subsidiary Butcombe Brewery has exchanged contracts to acquire 21 pubs from Wadworth and Company.

The acquisition is in line with Liberation’s longer-term strategy to grow Butcombe’s presence throughout the West Country via the acquisition of predominantly freehold pubs capable of supporting a premium, food-led offering with accommodation. The acquisition will add 140 rooms to Liberation’s managed estate, taking the total number to 223. Liberation will incorporate the sites and employees into Butcombe’s existing 39-pub portfolio and intends to invest “substantial capital” into many of the businesses.

Liberation will finance the entire cost of the acquisition through investment from its ultimate shareholder, Caledonia Investments.

Jonathan Lawson, chief executive of the Liberation Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome the teams of these fantastic pubs to Butcombe and have worked closely with Wadworth to ensure a smooth transition. We have ambitious plans for these businesses and look forward to a successful future together.

“Although the challenge posed by Covid-19 on Liberation, and the wider hospitality sector, continues to be substantial, it has not impacted our longer-term strategic ambition for Liberation, or the strength of customer demand for the exceptional experiences that we provide.

“We have been encouraged by the strength of Liberation’s trading performance post-lockdown, up to and including October half term, with our managed pubs successfully offsetting the impact of lower drink revenues with double digit food and accommodation growth.

“The strength of Liberation’s recovery is a direct reflection of the inherent quality and relative positioning of Liberation’s portfolio of businesses and the unrelenting dedication and passion of our colleagues throughout this immensely challenging period.”

The Liberation Group was advised by Sapient Corporate Finance.

In December 2014, Liberation acquired the Butcombe Brewery and pubs business for expansion in the UK.

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