BGF and NVM Private Equity (NVM) have exited their investments in Wear Inns, a community pub estate based in the North East. Wear Inns, which currently has a portfolio of 25 pubs across the North East and Yorkshire, has been acquired by Aprirose, a specialist UK real estate investor.
Wear Inns was founded in 2006 by John Weir and John Sands, with backing from NVM, who created a well-known and much-loved group of pubs run with an absolute focus on community, quality food and drink, customers and staff. Founded on a wealth of experience in the hospitality sector, the group continued to trade strongly throughout the various headwinds faced by the pub industry in recent years.
BGF, in 2012, joined Wear Inn’s existing investor NVM as a minority shareholder in the company and provided investment of GBP8 million to support the Group’s growth. At the same time, NVM, who first supported the business in 2006, invested a further GBP2 million. The funding was used to acquire 12 new properties, with the company then successfully delivering on its strategy of driving operational improvement through underperforming pubs.
Aprirose has acquired Wear Inns in full. All shareholders – including the estates of John Weir and John Sands – have successfully exited as part of the deal which has generated good returns.
BGF’s Barry Jackson, who has been on the board of Wear Inns since 2013, said: “It has been a privilege to have worked with and supported the growth of the Wear Inns’ estate during the past six years. Within the North-East business community in particular, the business developed a first-class reputation. It will, I’m sure, remain a powerful example of what can be achieved through ambition, leadership and vision for many years to come.”
NVM’s Karl Cockwill, says: “Wear Inns is a great business that was founded by John Sands and John Weir. They were a talented and ambitious team that built an impressive portfolio of North Eastern pubs. Their passing was untimely, but this exit is a testament to the team and business they built during our partnership.”
Wear Inns’ Simon Duckworth says: “BGF and NVM have been consistent in their support of Wear Inns and have provided not only funding but also ideas and guidance. Being part of an even larger group whose focus on community and customers is very much in line with Wear Inns will provide strong opportunities for the business going forward.”
Manish Gudka, CEO at Aprirose, says: “The acquisition of the Wear Inns business will complement our current portfolio of pubs across the UK. The brand has developed a first-class reputation with a focus on community, quality drink, customers and staff. We have a clear vision of building a pub group of scale and we look forward to supporting Wear Inns on their next stage of growth.”
Aprirose acquired of a portfolio of 73 pubs from Mitchells & Butlers in summer 2017.
Watson Burton acted on behalf of the management team at Wear Inns and BGF/NVM; PWC provided corporate finance advice to the sellers and UNW tax advice to Wear Inns. Addleshaw Goddard acted on behalf of the estate of John Weir; Ward Hadaway acted on behalf of the estate of John Sands; and DWF and EY provided advice to Aprirose Real Estate Investment Limited.