very professional, highly competent, pragmatic, sensible and commercial
National law firm Watson Burton has advised premier Northern pub co Wear Inns on the acquisition of 9 pubs from Tattershall Castle Group (TCG), which will result in the creation of 40 jobs across the North East and Yorkshire.
Founded in 2006, Wear Inns specialise in the management and acquisition of freehold and long leasehold pub premises in the North of England under the direction of Managing Director John Weir and Chairman, John Sands. The expansion of the company’s pub portfolio now brings Wear Inns’ managed pub estate to a total of 24 premises, located from Northumberland through to Yorkshire, with further acquisitions planned this year. The newly acquired premises include The Bedroom in Whitley Bay, The Black Bull in Morpeth, Greens in Sunderland, Lambton Arms in Chester-Le-Street, Ye Olde lang Jack in Whickham, The Ship and Royal in South Shields, Lloyds Arms in Grimsby, Porter Cottage in Sheffield and The White Bear in Barnsley.
Watson Burton provided Wear Inns with a multi-disciplined team in order to complete the acquisition of new premises. Led by corporate partner Duncan Reid, the team drafted and negotiated the terms and conditions of the acquisition agreement, managed the purchase of properties and provided advice in relation to employment. Duncan was assisted by corporate associate Paul Wigham, employment partner David Jenkins and real estate associate Michael Shuker.
Duncan Reid said: “Wear Inns has a proven track record as a fast growing regional business with a highly motivated management team. The key to the success of the company is their ability to acquire and manage pubs under the Wear Inns brand whilst retaining the individuality of the community where each pub is located. This has proven to be a successful strategy for the team which has resulted in substantial growth since 2006. We are extremely pleased to have been able to advise Wear Inns over the years as they have expanded the business and look forward observing its future growth.”
John Weir, Managing Director of Wear Inns, said: “We are highly delighted to acquire this package of well known pubs, with some iconic sites in areas that we know very well. The pubs will compliment our existing business and enhance our growth strategy. All of the pubs are planned to receive capital investment and some new retail trading formats in the near future; with a clear emphasis on standards, service and exceptional retailing. This is the second transaction Wear Inns has made from TCG, after acquiring the highly successful Cross Keys in Washington in December 2009.
“Duncan Reid, Paul Wigham and the team from Watson Burton have been great supporters of our growth strategy for a number of years and have proven themselves to be invaluable in helping is implement our expansion plans. Their first-rate technical expertise in drafting and negotiating our acquisition agreements ensured the best possible outcome for our business and we are extremely happy with the results.”
Wear Inns has acquired the pubs utilising part of the £10 million recently provided by existing investor NVM Private Equity (NVM) and new investor Business Growth Fund (BGF). BGF co-invested £8 million and NVM a further £2 million.
Mauro Biagioni, Director of NVM Private Equity, said: “The Wear Inns’ management team has stuck to its business strategy since 2006, using their extensive experience of the industry to create an estate of unique community pubs that meet the desires of the regulars, as well as passing visitors. Wear Inns has increased its value considerably since inception and we are delighted to continue supporting the company’s acquisition strategy.”
David Colclough, Investment Director at BGF, said: “The expansion of Wear’s estate of pubs follows our recent investment in the company and demonstrates the enormous potential for this business to grow through continued acquisition. We will continue to lend our support to the management team as they take the business into its next stage of development, solidifying its position as one of the leading pub chains in the North of England.”