Nomura pays £225m for First Quench off-licences

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The Independent Online

Nomura, the Japanese investment bank that is already the UK's largest pub landlord, yesterday announced that it had swallowed up First Quench, the country's biggest off-licence chain.

Nomura, the Japanese investment bank that is already the UK's largest pub landlord, yesterday announced that it had swallowed up First Quench, the country's biggest off-licence chain.

The bank will pay £225m to the two shareholders in First Quench - Punch Taverns and Whitbread, the leisure group. The deal, which should be completed by late October, is subject to regulatory clearance.

First Quench, the operator of the Thresher and Victoria Wine chains, and which comprises more than 2,500 outlets, was not considered core to either of its owners' future plans.

Guy Hands, the head of Nomura's Principal Finance Group, said: "Based on our track record with similar consumer-facing businesses, we believe that First Quench's full potential can be realised by empowering the management and investing in staff and technology."

Hugh Osmond, the chairman of Punch Taverns, said part of the proceeds would be used to pay off debt and "a substantial amount will be invested in the continuing development of our core pub estate".

Punch acquired its 50 per cent holding in First Quench last year when it bought Allied Domecq's pubs estate, outbidding Whitbread in the process.

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