Reports suggest that Japanese bank Nomura is looking to complete the sale of Voyager Pub Group and Unique Pub Company, two of the businesses acquired by Guy Hands’ Principal Finance Group, the private equity arm of Nomura.
According to the Sunday Times, the Japanese bank has appointed Schroder Salomon Smith Barney to find a buyer for Unique Pub Company, the tenanted pubs business, and Voyager Pub Group, its managed pubs operation. Nomura is said to have placed a valuation of around £2bn on the two companies.
It is thought that Nomura will retain ownership of both companies if the asking price is not met, with Guy Hands having agreed to continue to manage the operations after his departure from Nomura. Hands is currently raising a E3bn fund for Terra Firma Capital Partners, his own buyout business that will manage all unrealised investments that Hands made for Nomura during his time at the bank.
The news to sell the pubs come shortly after Nomura disposed of Inn Partnership to rival Pubmaster for GBP523m. Interest is expected to come from a number of large private equity groups as well as rival pub operators such as Pubmaster, Punch Taverns and Enterprise Inns.
Between them, Unique and Voyager control more than 4,000 public houses, representing over 6 per cent of the UK pub market. Nomura has yet to comment on the possible disposal of the two firms.