Brains set to offload more pubs in £100m deal


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Brain sign on a bridge in Cardiff. Photo by Elliott Brown (CC BY-SA 2.0).

One of Wales’ major brewers is reportedly selling another 100 of its pubs in a deal worth almost £100m.

According to Sky News, industry insiders say brewing company SA Brains is days away from striking a deal that will transfer full ownership of some of its key properties to a “consortium that includes a global private equity powerhouse”. .

In the latest of several major deals in the sector, Brains would have transferred Welsh pubs to Song Capital and Cerberus Capital Management, which previously owned Admiral Taverns.

The substantial proceeds from the deal, estimated at around £100m, are expected to be used by Brains’ family shareholders to repay debt, leaving the company as a family brewer with a small residual pub portfolio.

SA Brain & Co was established in 1882 in Cardiff and became the largest brewing and pubs business in Wales while remaining under family ownership, operating a beer brand of the same name.

In December 2020, the company revealed that over 156 pubs in Wales would be sold to Marston’s pub group.

The company said the Covid restrictions in Wales had put Brains under significant financial pressure, so it had entered into collaborative discussions to preserve the brand and secure jobs.

Welsh hospitality was ordered to close on December 19, 2020, but 100 of the pubs run by Brains had already been closed since the start of the month when a ban on serving alcohol across Wales came into effect. Coming into force.

Guardians

At the time, Brains chairman John Rhys said the decision to sell would allow the business to continue “for generations to come” and could save 1,300 jobs.

He said: ‘We know and trust Marston’s to be excellent stewards of our pubs and, while this is not a decision we have taken lightly, we are confident that our pubs and our pubs teams will thrive under their leadership.

“Furthermore, this transaction allows Brains to recapitalize its balance sheet and continue its long legacy as an independent entity, preserving this great Welsh company for generations to come.”

In August 2021, Marston had to close 30 pubs and limit trading to another 50 due to staffing issues.

Last October, the company called for the easing of visa restrictions for hotel staff as the sector faced severe labor shortages, with almost one in ten of its 187 pubs under -effective.

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