Wear Inns was founded in 2006 by John Weir and John Sands, with backing from NVM, who created a well-known and much-loved group of pubs run with an absolute focus on community, quality food and drink, customers and staff. Founded on a wealth of experience in the hospitality sector, the group continued to trade strongly throughout the various headwinds faced by the pub industry in recent years.
BGF, in 2012, joined Wear Inn’s existing investor NVM as a minority shareholder in the company and provided investment of £8m to support the Group’s growth. At the same time, NVM, who first supported the business in 2006, invested a further £2m. The funding was used to acquire 12 new properties, with the company then successfully delivering on its strategy of driving operational improvement through underperforming pubs.
Aprirose has acquired Wear Inns in full. All shareholders - including the estates of John Weir and John Sands - have successfully exited as part of the deal which has generated good returns. Aprirose has a clear vision of building a pub group of scale and is well placed to support Wear Inns on its next stage of growth.
BGF’s Barry Jackson, who has been on the board of Wear Inns since 2013, said: “It has been a privilege to have worked with and supported the growth of the Wear Inns’ estate during the past six years. Within the North-East business community in particular, the business developed a first-class reputation. It will, I’m sure, remain a powerful example of what can be achieved through ambition, leadership and vision for many years to come.”
NVM’s Karl Cockwill, said: “Wear Inns is a great business that was founded by John Sands and John Weir. They were a talented and ambitious team that built an impressive portfolio of North Eastern pubs. Their passing was untimely, but this exit is a testament to the team and business they built during our partnership.”
Simon Duckworth said: “BGF and NVM have been consistent in their support of Wear Inns and have provided not only funding but also ideas and guidance. Being part of an even larger group whose focus on community and customers is very much in line with Wear Inns will provide strong opportunities for the business going forward.”
Duncan Reid, head of corporate at Watson Burton said: “Watson Burton has had the pleasure of working with Wear Inns since its inception in 2006 and we have seen the company grow from strength to strength. I’m delighted that we have been able to act on behalf of Wear Inns and its shareholders during the acquisition process. We were able to draw on our experience in complex high-level investments and acquisitions to negotiate on the documents involved in this transaction, and help the acquisition achieve a successful outcome for all parties.
We’re looking forward to seeing Wear Inns move into an exciting new phase following the acquisition by Aprirose Real Estate Investment Limited.”
Watson Burton acted on behalf of the management team at Wear Inns and the private equity investors, BGF/NVM; Addleshaw Goddard acted on behalf of the estate of John Sands; DWF acted on behalf of Aprirose Real Estate Investment Limited; Ward Hadaway acted on behalf of the estate of John Weir; UNW provided tax advice and PWC provided corporate finance advice.