24 July 2004 – See LAWFUEL’S PRESS RELEASES for all today’s law an…

24 July 2004 – See LAWFUEL’S PRESS RELEASES for all today’s law announcements
SJ Berwin has advised the Laurel Pub Company – the leading pub and bar operator backed by private equity group Morgan Grenfell Private Equity – on the proposed sale of its neighbourhood estate for £654 million. The sale to Greene King was announced on 8 July 2004, and followed an auction process.

The acquisition is conditional on approval by Greene King’s shareholders, which is expected later this month.

The Laurel Pub Company was formed in May 2001 following the sale of Whitbread’s pubs and bars to Morgan Grenfell Private Equity (MGPE). The estate comprised over 3,000 managed outlets at the time of MGPE’s acquisition and formed the core of Whitbread’s pub business. MGPE, a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, is advised by MidOcean Partners.

The neighbourhood portfolio of 432 pubs is focused primarily on community and traditional town locations, generating strong and consistent cash flow. Greene King expects to terminate the lease and leaseback arrangements for the acquired pubs, and will then own 363 of the 432 pubs on a freehold basis. It believes that the pubs have benefited from extensive investment and a strong operational management team.

Corporate partner Steven Davis, who led the SJ Berwin team advising on the deal, said: “After our collective disappointment at coming second in the auction for the Scottish & Newcastle retail estate, we were delighted to represent Laurel on this major portfolio disposal. It represents an important step forward for Laurel, and allows the management team to focus on the opportunities in the High Street Estate.”

Steven led a team of lawyers that included corporate partner Rob Day, corporate assistants Jacqui Adams and Andrew Wingfield. Pensions issues were dealt with by Wyn Derbyshire.

For further information please contact:

Steven Davis on +44 (0)20 7533 2222, email steven.davis@sjberwin.com

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