Punch sells 205 pubs to Petchey

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The Independent Online

Punch Taverns, which recently sealed a £2.7bn takeover of Spirit Group, sold 205 leased and tenanted pubs for £98m yesterday to a company owned by the veteran entrepreneur Jack Petchey.

At the time of the Spirit acquisition, Punch said it would sell on 190 pubs to comply with competition rules. The takeover will make Punch Britain's largest pubs group, ahead of Enterprise Inns.

The sale of the 205 pubs to Save Investments, part of the Petchey Group of companies, is due to be completed early next year. Punch gave no update on how many pubs it is planning to sell from the 1,832-strong Spirit estate of managed pubs.

Mr Petchey is an 80-year-old Londoner who made his money from property in Britain and Portugal. He is involved in several corporate tussles. Lookers, the car dealer, has been trying to win his backing for its bid for the bigger rival Reg Vardy, which has already recommended a £450m offer from Pendragon, as he is the second-largest shareholder. Mr Petchey's investment vehicle Trefick controls 6 per cent of the shares.

He also owns 20 per cent of Aston Villa FC, which recently received a takeover approach from a local businessman, Michael Neville. In September, Mr Petchey sold his 8.8 per cent stake in Wyevale Garden Centres to Laxey Partners, allowing Laxey to tighten the its grip on the group.

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