Bass ready to announce sale of 1,000 of its pubs

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The Independent Online

Bass, the pubs and hotels group, is poised to announce the sale of a batch of 1,000 pubs in a deal worth in excess of £600m.

Bass, the pubs and hotels group, is poised to announce the sale of a batch of 1,000 pubs in a deal worth in excess of £600m.

The two bidders are L&G Ventures, the private equity arm of Legal & General, and Nomura, with L&G thought to be the front-runner. A deal is thought to be imminent and could be announced as early as Thursday to coincide with the Bass annual general meeting and a trading update.

Weekend press reports suggested that L&G Ventures had secured the deal. However, Bass has suggested that both bidders remain in the fray. Either bidder is expected to turn the managed pubs into an estate of tenanted outlets.

However, Bass dismissed suggestions that the performance of its All Bar One outlets has deteriorated and that up to 11 may be sold.

Bass said five of the 54-strong trendy bars, which were viewed until recently as a prime asset, may be sold but said this was due to better locations becoming available near existing All Bar One Outlets. Bass plans to sell the original sites and open bars on the new sites instead.

At its annual general meeting this week Bass is also expected to seek shareholder approval to buy back up to 15 per cent of its shares, worth around £1bn.

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