The William Pears Group, one of the UK’s biggest privately-owned property groups, is believed to have pulled out of exclusive talks to acquire a c300-strong tenanted pub portfolio placed on the market by Greene King earlier this year, M&C Report understands.

The Pears Group, which entered talks over the portfolio earlier this summer, is understood to have backed out of the deal over price expectations.

It is thought that Ted Kennedy, the industry veteran, who is currently managing the former GRS Inns and Pubfolio estates, was being lined up to manage the portfolio of sites on behalf of the Pears Group.

Greene King placed the portfolio, entitled Project Lake, on the market through PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) at the start of the year.

The move is part of Greene King’s long-term strategy of expanding its managed estate to around 1,100 and cutting back its c1,250-strong tenanted estate.

The Pears Group previously acted as one of the property partners to the Alan Bowes-led London & Edinburgh estate, which was placed into administration in 2006. At the time, it operated 146 Swallow hotels and inns and around 400 pubs.

In 2003, a joint venture comprising Flodrive, London & Edinburgh and the Pears Family Trust acquired 252 pubs from Punch Taverns for £57m.