Pub businesses join forces to create a strong 137-strong chain

The Liberation Group has reached an agreement with the leading brand Cirrus Inns.

Liberation will take over 22 inns throughout London and South West to create a new chain of 137 venues.

The combined estate will consist of 137 pubs. It will be a predominantly freehold estate with 59 managed and 58 tenanted properties. The pubs will have over 400 rooms and span from South West London to Bristol, the Channel Islands and beyond.

Jonathan Lawson, Liberation’s chief executive, will lead the combined group, with Alex Langlands Pearse, Cirrus Inns’ founder and chief executive joining Liberation Group’s board as a non-executive director.

Liberation also owns Butcombe Brewery. It is located in Wrington (North Somerset) after it was acquired in 2014.

Liberation Group has also signed new, long term banking facilities with three of its existing lenders, HSBC Santander and NatWest. All of them are backing the deal.

Jonathan Lawson said: “Liberation Group, Cirrus and our respective majority shareholders, share a very similar view of pubs, and the unique role they play in our communities.

“The Cirrus team have built a superb business which we are incredibly proud to welcome into Liberation Group.

“This move is consistent with our strategy of focusing on freehold premium food led pubs with rooms and provides us with further volume growth for our highly successful and award-winning beers such as Butcombe Original, Liberation IPA and our brand-new Tall Tales Pale Ale.

“I would like to thank Liberation Group’s majority shareholder, Caledonia Investments plc for their support with this transaction.”

Alex Langlands Pearse added: “I have watched the development of Liberation Group over the last few years and along with our major shareholder, the Heineken family, feel confident in the ability of its team to take the business forward.

“We are reassured that in Caledonia, we have found investors with the similar level of family values, ambition, and long-term approach to build something unique and I look forward to joining the board.”

Lawson added “Liberation Group has come out of the pandemic in a strong position and despite the obvious headwinds for our customers, we are on course to deliver a strong year’s performance in both the Channel Islands and the UK.

“We have obviously seen significant pressure on our cost base, but we have worked hard with our suppliers to find solutions wherever possible and have balanced pricing decisions with initiatives to deliver value to our customers.”

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