Celtic Inns founders call time with a £10m exit

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The Independent Online

The two founders of Celtic Inns are reaping a £10m windfall from the £43.6m cash sale of the 70-strong pubs business to Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries.

W&D announced yesterday it had acquired Celtic's estate of 70 community pubs - based mainly in south Wales, with 21 in southern England. It expects annual cost savings of £200,000 from the deal.

Duncan Murray and Clive Williams, who set up Celtic four years ago, are making £10m between them. Other employees collect about £1m through share option schemes. The company's private-equity backer, Dunedin Capital Partners, a key backer of the business in 2004, gets £8.7m from the deal while a co-investor, Dr Godfrey Ainsworth, collects about £200,000. Giles Derry, at Dunedin, hailed the deal as a "fantastic exit". Celtic's founders, both in their fifties, are leaving the business.

W&D has gone on an acquisition spree over the last couple of years and snapped up smaller rivals Burtonwood, Jennings and English Country Inns. Paul Inglett, the finance director, said there could be more acquisitions, depending on price. "It's quite a rapidly consolidating sector."

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