PE firms sell Unique Pub stake for £609m

Enterprise Inns has completed the purchase of an 83.2 percent stake in Unique Pub Company held by a Cinven-led private equity consortium for ₤609m.

A private equity consortium has sold pub operator Unique Pub Company to Enterprise Inns, one of the UK’s largest pub chains, in a transaction valued at approximately £609 million (€912 million).

Enterprise acquired the 83.2 percent equity stake from a Cinven-led group of investors that also included Morgan Stanley’s Princes Gate Investors and Legal and General Ventures (LGV).

Enterprise had made a £75 million (€108 million; $137 million) cash investment in the initial £2.013 billion acquisition of Unique by the consortium. Cinven contributed £235 million of equity with LGV and Princes Gate investing £60 million and £77 million respectively.
In January, Enterprise indicated its intent to exercise a call option to acquire the Unique stake, which was agreed at the time of the acquisition. 

The Unique estate was the subject of a securitisation that raised £855 million within six weeks of the acquisition. Following the securitisation, 23 percent of the original equity was returned to the consortium and the terms of the call option altered to reflect this return of capital.

Unique has more than 4,000 pubs throughout the UK, ranging from traditional inns to themed bars. The original acquisition included the 900-strong Voyager estate, whose operations were subsequently merged with Unique.  
Cinven first invested in the UK pub sector in 1994 acquiring Magic Pubs, a managed estate, for €160 million. The business was later sold to Greene King in July 1996 for €310 million.

Enterprise is funding the transaction through debt. HSBC Bank acted as adviser and sponsor to Enterprise on the deal. Morgan Stanley advised the private equity consortium in relation to the call option.