Liberation Group (“Liberation”), the UK and Channel Islands pub, brewing and drinks business and Cirrus Inns, a 22 strong premium pub business which trades from Southwest London across to the Cotswolds, are delighted to announce the combination of the two businesses.
The combination creates a predominantly freehold, estate of 137 pubs, made up of 79 managed and 58 tenanted sites, with an extensive premium accommodation offering of over 400 rooms, stretching from Southwest London to Bristol and the Channel Islands. The combined group will be well-placed to leverage its scale and expertise for the benefit of the business, its customers and its suppliers in the UK and the Channel Islands. Liberation Group has been deliberate in its focus on local suppliers such as Walter Rose, Arthur David, and Hobbs House, providing some of the highest quality fresh and seasonal food available. These suppliers and their products will form the backbone of the food offer that will be rolled out into the new pubs alongside the drinks ranges from our strategic partners and our own breweries.
Jonathan Lawson, Liberation CEO, will lead the combined group, with Alex Langlands Pearse (“Langy”), the Cirrus Inns Founder and CEO, joining Liberation Group’s Board as a Non-Executive Director.
In parallel with the transaction, Liberation Group has also agreed new, long-term banking facilities with three of its existing lenders, HSBC, Santander and NatWest, all of whom are supportive of this exciting transaction and the potential for the combined group going forward.
Jonathan Lawson commented:
“Liberation Group, Cirrus and our respective majority shareholders, share a very similar view of pubs, and the unique role they play in our communities. Langy and his team have built a superb business which we are incredibly proud to welcome into Liberation Group. This move is consistent with our strategy of focusing on freehold premium food led pubs with rooms and provides us with further volume growth for our highly successful and award-winning beers such as Butcombe Original, Liberation IPA and our brand-new Tall Tales Pale Ale. I would like to thank Liberation Group’s majority shareholder, Caledonia Investments plc (“Caledonia”) for their support with this transaction.”
Alex Langlands Pearse added:
“I have watched the development of Liberation Group over the last few years and along with our major shareholder, the Heineken family, feel confident in the ability of its team to take the business forward. We are reassured that in Caledonia, we have found investors with the similar level of family values, ambition, and long-term approach to build something unique and I look forward to joining the Board”.
Commenting on trading this year Lawson added “Liberation Group has come out of the pandemic in a strong position and despite the obvious headwinds for our customers, we are on course to deliver a strong year’s performance in both the Channel Islands and the UK. We have obviously seen significant pressure on our cost base, but we have worked hard with our suppliers to find solutions wherever possible and have balanced pricing decisions with initiatives to deliver value to our customers. As a result, we have seen a stable gross margin performance in our Pubs and Drinks business, with both showing progress vs 2019”.