More pubs for private equity: The Laine Pub Company, which operates Clapham's Four Thieves, sells to Patron Capital and May Capital

Lucy White
Laine also operates an experimental Brew Lab at the People's Park Tavern in Hackney (Source: Laine Pub Company)

The Laine Pub Company, which owns 21 London pubs including the Camden Eye and Clapham's Four Thieves, has sold this morning to a pair of private equity houses.

Patron Capital and May Capital, the two firms which last year completed the £1.8bn (including debt) acquisition of Punch Taverns before selling a number on to Heineken, today scooped up Laine for an undisclosed sum through the same vehicle they used to acquire Punch.

The Patron-May venture now owns around 1,300 pubs across the UK, and has said that Punch and Laine "will work closely together to explore opportunities for both businesses".

Read more: Group of six London pubs sold to the Laine Pub Company for around £4m

"Laine’s portfolio of pubs in London and Brighton is totally unique," said Stephen Green, senior partner of Patron Capital.

"The energy and passion of the Laine team, and all of the management partners, are at the heart of their success, and we look forward to helping support the future growth of this fantastic business. We also believe Laine’s craft beers have tremendous potential.”

The firms said that Laine would continue to be run by its existing management team, led by co-founder Gavin George, and existing investors ICG Enterprise Trust and Risk Capital Partners who backed a management buyout in 2014 have completely sold their stake.

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Laine runs its own brewery, producing beers such as Source, Ripper, and Word. It also has an experimental Brew Lab at the People’s Park Tavern in Hackney, and miniature brewing setups in The Four Thieves in Clapham and the North Laine Brewhouse in Brighton.

Several of its pubs also include an entertainment aspect, such as arcade games, an in-house circus, miniature golf courses and escape rooms.

As well as the 21 independent and managed London pubs, Laine also operates 33 in Brighton and another four through its Mash Inns joint venture with Ei Group.

The pub company's origins date back to 1996, with the opening of Brighton's Mash Tun.

May Capital's Noah Bulkin, a former Merrill Lynch banker, previously founded pub group Hawthorn Leisure which was revealed earlier this year to be up for sale.

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