Admiral Taverns has reached an agreement to acquire community pub company Hawthorn from parent company NewRiver, for a cash consideration of approximately £222.3m.

The deal will be funded through debt provided by Admiral’s current lenders, together with capital provided by existing lender Proprium Capital Partners.

The addition of Hawthorn’s 674 pub portfolio will boost Admiral’s own wet-led community pub portfolio to more than 1,600 pubs.

Hawthorn’s estate is comprised of a mixture of predominately tenanted, leased and operator sites in England, Wales and Scotland.

Commenting on the acquisition, Chris Jowsey, chief executive, Admiral Taverns, said: “This is one of the biggest acquisitions by Admiral to date and delivers on our strategy to build our estate to 1,500 sustainable pubs. It is a really exciting step forward for the business and we remain committed to the supportive partnership model, which is highly regarded by licensees.

“Our wet-led, community focused, supportive culture is very much shared by Hawthorn and I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome our new licensees and colleagues to Admiral. The acquisition has allowed us to acquire an excellent portfolio of pubs which we look forward to developing through our award-winning and highly supportive approach.”

Mark Davies, CEO of Hawthorn, said: “Throughout our sale and IPO process, we have been blown away by the high level of interest that has been expressed in Hawthorn, which is testament to the high-quality business we’ve built and the quality of our people. Every investor that we met with during the process who got to know Hawthorn spoke very highly of the pubs we own, the way we run our business, and the people within the company.

“Chris and the Admiral team will inherit more than 670 thriving community pubs and a fantastic group of highly committed, loyal and talented people, and we wish them and the new owners every success for the future.”

Added Allan Lockhart, chief executive of NewRiver: “Over recent years, we have grown Hawthorn to become the UK’s leading community and wet-led pub business. As a consequence of this, we received significant interest from a range of potential buyers for Hawthorn, following the divestment plan we announced in April 2021.

“We have now agreed the sale of Hawthorn which, once completed, will deliver on our key priority to reset Loan to Value, strengthening our balance sheet and enabling us to focus on executing our resilient retail strategy.”

Completion of the deal is expected to occur next month.