VAUX, the Sunderland pub group planning to sell its two breweries and 350 tenanted pubs to concentrate on Swallow hotels, yesterday agreed to grant a four-week exclusivity deal to a management buyout team led by Frank Nicholson, the younger brother of Vaux's chairman Sir Paul Nicholson. It raises hopes that the management team - which is committed to keeping open both the Sunderland brewery and the Ward's brewery in Sheffield - will clinch the deal, which could be worth over pounds 80m. Vaux profits in the first 16 weeks of the current year are almost 5 per cent ahead of last year but below target, the AGM was told.
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Hopes raised for Vaux buyout