Whitbread speeds up plans to sell 250 Beefeater and Brewers Fayre pubs and restaurants


Whitbread speeds up plans to sell 250 Beefeater and Brewers Fayre pubs and restaurants – is yours on the market?

  • Whitbread is auctioning off 250 of its Beefeater and Brewers Fayre pub-diners 
  • It is reportedly looking to sell them to a pub operator to speed up the process 

One of Britain’s biggest pub chains to looking to speed up plans to sell off hundreds of its pubs and restaurants, it has been reported.

Whitbread, which operates the Beefeater and Brewers Fayre chains, is auctioning off 250 of its venues in an estimated £600million process.

Mitchells & Butlers, the owners of the Harvester and Toby Carvery brands, is tipped to be the frontrunner to acquire the businesses, The Times reports.

But other contenders include Greene King, Heineken and Marton’s and Punch.

Whitbread is believed to be seeking to restrict the auction of its sites to established pub operators, in order to avoid a long, drawn-out disposal, and has ‘tested the water’ with various chains according to a city source.

Whitbread, which operates the Beefeater and Brewers Fayre chains, is auctioning off 250 of its venues in an estimated £600million process

Whitbread, which operates the Beefeater and Brewers Fayre chains, is auctioning off 250 of its venues in an estimated £600million process

Mitchells & Butlers, the owners of the Harvester and Toby Carvery brands, is tipped to be the frontrunner to acquire the businesses

Mitchells & Butlers, the owners of the Harvester and Toby Carvery brands, is tipped to be the frontrunner to acquire the businesses

Whitbread, based in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, plans to offload 250 of its 440 pub-restaurants, most of which are located next to a Premier Inn.

The majority of these sites for disposal have been noted as either marginal or loss-making. Full-year results published in April include impairment losses made out against 13 of its poorest performing restaurants.

Whitbread has twice completed deals with Mitchells & Butlers in the past, making it an obvious frontrunner in the upcoming sale. 

In 2008, Whitbread exchanged 44 pub-restaurants for 21 M&B hotels – both valued at around £78million – in a straightforward asset swap which saw no cash involved.

M&B’s estate has been praised for for its high quality following a refurbishment programme overseen by chief executive Phil urban, 60.

The company has a sizeable portfolio of 650 sites including such staples as Miller * Carter and Umber Inns.

Whitbread, based in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, plans to offload 250 of its 440 pub-restaurants, most of which are located next to a Premier Inn

Whitbread, based in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, plans to offload 250 of its 440 pub-restaurants, most of which are located next to a Premier Inn

Commentators said Urban may easily choose to convert Whitbread’s ageing Beefeaters restaurants into high quality Miller & Carter venues, and Brewers Fayre pubs into Harvesters.

Britain’s biggest pub group Stonegate is itself undergoing a sales process, ruling it out of acquiring the Whitbread collection.

Whitbread, ranked among the FTSE 100, was founded by brewing apprentice Samuel Whitbread in 1742 and grew to become the nation’s third-largest beer firm in the two centuries that followed.

In 1999, it abruptly sold off all of its beer interests to US firm Interbrew, now known as InBev, and instead grew its hotel business in the UK, Germany and the Middle East to around 850 sites.

Biut the group’s pub-restaurant trade has struggled in recent years, with a series of CEOs unable to to turn it around. 

One difficulty with disposal is the use of many Beefeater and Brewers Fayre restaurants in providing breakfasts to Premier Inn customers, although analysts say an arrangement could be reached with the buyer.



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