Investors bet big on comeback for UK pubs

Government support has staved off some of the hurt of the pandemic

National /
Mar.March 13, 2021 09:00 AM
Redcat Pub Co. founder Rooney Anand. (Morrisons Corportate, Getty)

Redcat Pub Co. founder Rooney Anand. (Morrisons Corporate, Getty)

It’s been a tough year for pubs in the United Kingdom, but some investors are more than optimistic that those beloved institutions will bounce back.

Los Angeles real estate investor Oaktree Capital Management recently announced it would invest 200 million pounds — or around $278 million — into the recently founded hospitality venture Redcat Pub Co., according to the Wall Street Journal.

Redcat was founded by Rooney Anand, the former CEO of Greene King, the country’s largest pub retailer. Anand reportedly plans to buy up smaller pubs in the south and east of England, the publication said, citing sources close to the firm.

With coronavirus vaccines rolling out in the U.K., 2021 could be a big year for the sector. Investment bank Numis recently released a report predicting that Brits will flock to the country’s pubs after more than a year of lockdowns.

The number of pubs has steadily fallen over the last several years: There were some 60,000 pubs in 2000, but that’s since fallen by about 20 percent. After the pandemic hit, the British government subsidized unemployment payments to furloughed pub workers, which has helped owners stay afloat, said Stephen Owens with Christie & Co.

“There has not been a fire-sale situation,” he told the Journal. “We have got more buyers than we have got sellers.”

Other sectors haven’t fared so well. Office and retail vacancies in the U.K. are rising at a pace not seen since 1999.

[WSJ] — Dennis Lynch 


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