Portobello Starboard, an acquisition platform backed by private equity firm Zetland Capital and operated by Portobello Brewery, has announced the acquisition of 12 high quality freehold pubs, located across the London villages and suburbs.

The pubs have been acquired from various entities, backed by funds managed by investment manager Downing LLP.

Portobello Brewery, the pub operating company, led by industry heavyweight Mark Crowther, has been managing the sites for the past year.

Earlier this year, Crowther told MCA’s Pub Conference there was “bundles of equity” out there for growth and investment in the pub sector.

Portobello has a growth target of 80 pubs. 

Zetland Capital is providing equity funding for the acquisition and will provide further financial support, as the business looks to grow through acquisitions across London and the south of England.

The sites include the flagship Westow House in Crystal Palace, which has recently added 22 en-suite bedrooms, along with other locations including Forest Gate, Peckham, New Cross, Sutton and Brixton.

Mark Crowther, Executive Chairman of Portobello Brewery, commented: “We are delighted to have completed this acquisition and to partner with Zetland Capital. Zetland’s backing will enable us to invest in these great pubs and our fantastic teams, supporting the recovery and to acquire further pubs in the South of England.”

Ahmed Hamdani, Managing Partner at Zetland, commented: “We are excited to have made this acquisition of a high quality and well-located portfolio of pubs. We are partnering with a highly experienced team, led by Mark, and will back them, with substantial investment, to grow Portobello into one of the leading pub businesses in Southern England.”

Zetland Capital was advised by Burges Salmon (legal), Kroll (financial and tax), EY (structuring), Turner & Townsend (technical) and Envo (EHS).

Downing was advised by Sapient Corporate Finance and TLT (legal).

Zetland Capital Partners LLP is a London-based private equity firm that was founded in 2016 by Ahmed Hamdani.

Portobello Brewery was founded in 2012 by Rob Jenkins, with Mark Crowther joining as chairman in 2020 to support the strategy and growth of the business.

The 12 Pubs included in the deal are:

Effra Social, Brixton

Royal Albert, New Cross

Knowles, Norwood

John the Unicorn, Peckham

Walker Briggs, Crystal Palace

Forest Tavern, Forest Gate

Old Red Lion, Kennington

Westow House, Crystal Palace

GPO, Eltham

Sylvan Post, Forest Hill

Pratts and Payne, Streatham

Shinner & Sudtone, Sutton