Magners owner C&C strengthens brand presence with pub deal

Magners cider and Tennent's lager owner C&C Group is to boost the presence of its brands in British pubs thanks to the acquisition of pub operator Admiral Taverns.

Magners: the cider brand will strengthen its pub presence in England and Wales following Admiral deal
Magners: the cider brand will strengthen its pub presence in England and Wales following Admiral deal

C&C teamed up with New York-based Proprium Capital Partners for the deal, with the brewer paying £37m for a 47% equity stake, while Proprium and Admiral Management are providing the remaining equity.

The brewer, which also owns brands including Bulmers, Blackthorn, Ye Olde English and Tipperary Natural Mineral Water, hopes that the deal will strengthen its "route to market" and has confirmed that the agreement will give it direct access to Admiral’s entire chain of pubs through a "procurement and supply agreement".

Admiral operates 845 pubs across England and Wales, territories where C&C does not have as much distribution muscle compared with in Ireland and Scotland.

C&C has made various failed acquisition approaches in the last three years, including to Spirit Pub Company and Punch Taverns, which were subsequently taken over by Greene King and Heineken (alongside Patron Capital Partners) respectively.

Admiral’s pubs are 95% freehold or long leasehold and based in predominantly suburban and urban areas. The group’s management team will continue to run the business following the deal. Its latest results for the year ending 28 May 2016 saw it post underlying Ebitda of £25.2m.

The deal is subject to approval by the Financial Conduct Authority and is expected to be ratified by November.

Stephen Glancey, C&C’s chief executive, said: "For C&C, this is an attractive opportunity to create a new long-term investment in the important on-trade channel, without taking significant financial and operational risk.

"The investment will provide our brands with improved distribution in some of the best community pubs across the UK, with an opportunity to enhance on-trade penetration further over time."

Magners' advertising account is handled by Fold7, which was appointed in 2015.