Avenue Capital And Noah Bulkin Take Over Greene King
Published on May 2 2014 1:58 PM in Pub/Bar/Nightclub
The New York investment firm, Avenue Capital, and Noah Bulkin, the former Lazard dealmaker, have acquired 190 pubs in the UK from Greene King for £75.6 million. Gerry Carroll, a former managing director of Enterprise Inns, will head the new company, which has been named Hawthorn Leisure. It is understood that 98% of the portfolio is freehold and most of the pubs are on “tied” arrangements, the controversial model which requires landlords to buy beer from their parent company rather than on the open market. The tenanted-pubs system has come under intense scrutiny over the past year, and Business Secretary Vince Cable has proposed setting up an organisation to police the relationship between landlords and the most prominent pub companies. Much of the controversy has been caused by Greene King's history: their Westgate brewery is in Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk; it was established in 1799 by Benjamin Greene, the great-grandfather of the brothers Graham, Hugh and Raymond, who have all gone on to become noteworthy in their respective fields of literature, television and mountaineering. Noah Bulkin remarked that the style of the pubs should now move away from "the old cookie-cutter tenanted pubco model", and that it is his intention to revive pubs with declining popularities by having closer relationships with landlords than the previous arrangement facilitated.