Mitchells & Butlers nearing finish line in its bid to buy Orchid pubs

 
Michael Bow
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A BEVY of All Bar Ones and Harvester pubs could soon be flooding the high street after owner Mitchells & Butlers announced it was nearing a deal to acquire a portfolio of pub sites from operator Orchid Group.

M&B, which runs about 1,600 pubs and restaurants across the UK, said it was in exclusive talks to buy the bulk of Orchid’s estate, which has 220 pub and restaurant sites across Britain.

It is likely to take up to 180 of the sites for about £250m, with the remaining 40 pubs sites tipped into administration.

M&B beat other firms including Colony Capital and Starwood Capital to become front runner.

M&B boss Alistair Darby, who took the reins 18 months ago, has been pursuing a food-led strategy for the group, re-orientating away from the traditional pub format.

Orchid has a number of restaurant brands including Pizza Kitchen Bars and the Great British Carvery.

It is not known if these brands will survive the transfer to M&B’s portfolio.

Darby has previously said he wants to expand the All Bar One, Toby Carvery, Harvester and Miller and Carter brands.

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