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Softbank's Fortress to buy UK-based Punch Pubs, explore similar deals

Softbank's Fortress to buy UK-based Punch Pubs
Softbank's Fortress to buy UK-based Punch Pubs   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021
By Reuters

-Softbank-owned Fortress Investment Group will acquire UK-based Punch Pubs & Co for an undisclosed amount, the asset management firm said on Wednesday, as it bets on the sector and the country’s “extremely attractive” investment environment.

Sky News reported last month Fortress was in talks to purchase Punch, which operates about 1,300 pubs in the United Kingdom, for about 1 billion pounds ($1.33 billion).

Many British pubs have seen a rebound in sales and footfall since easing of COVID-19 restrictions in July, although demand recovery in some city centres has been slow due to people working from home and a fall in tourist numbers.

“Punch’s resilient business model and a suburban and rural estate has enabled it to weather the ongoing challenges of the pandemic,” U.S.-based Fortress said in a statement.

Punch paid 53 million pounds in July this year to buy 56 pubs of the Ram Pub Company from Young & Co’s Brewery, a 190-year-old pub group. Formerly a listed, Punch is currently owned by private equity firm Patron Capital Partners.

“We will continue to explore other opportunities in this sector and across the UK, Ireland and Europe,” Fortress Managing Director Cyril Courbage said.

($1 = 0.7543 pounds)