Boot & Shoe X1
The recently redeveloped Boot & Shoe, Ackworth. Credit: Admiral Taverns

Admiral Taverns adds 674 pubs in £222m deal

Neil Tague

Vendor NewRiver REIT has sold Hawthorn Leisure, a national community pub business, to the Chester-based operator to create a 1,600-strong estate.

Admiral said that the deal builds on its strategy of building a portfolio of wet-led community pubs. The deal is funded by debt provided by Admiral’s current lenders together with cash from existing investor Proprium Capital Partners.

Pubs in the Hawthorn group are mostly leased and tenanted, or operator-managed. The estate includes the Wheatsheaf in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, with other Greater Manchester holdings including the Bricklayers Arms in Failsworth, the Dutton Arms in Eccles and the Thatched Tavern in Reddish.

In Liverpool, the group includes the Saddle Inn, Kitty’s and the Roscoe Head. Lancashire venues include the Ribble Lodge and Euxton Mills Hotel.

Chris Jowsey, Admiral chief executive, described the deal as “a really exciting step forward for the business”.

He added: “Our wet-led, community-focused, supportive culture is very much shared by Hawthorn and I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome our new licensees and colleagues to Admiral.”

Mark Davies, chief executive of Hawthorn, said: “We have been blown away by the high level of interest that has been expressed in Hawthorn, which is testament to the high-quality business we’ve built and the quality of our people.

“The last 18 months have shown just how vital the community pub is to the social fabric of this country, and I’m incredibly proud of the role we have played in helping our pub partners and operators not just survive this most challenging period, but to also ensure they’ve been able to come out stronger on the other side.”

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