Stonegate Pub Company is to enter the transport hub sector for the first time after acquiring Bar Holdings – the company behind the five-strong Sports Bar & Grill concept, for an undisclosed sum, MCA has learnt.

Bar Holdings, which is led by Dave Evans, placed the five-strong, London-based chain back on the market at the end of last year, after withdrawing it from the market in the first quarter of 2015, when advanced talks with JD Wetherspoon ended.

The bars being acquired by Stonegate, which is set to keep them branded as Sports Bar & Grill, are located in prime London locations in Waterloo, Marylebone, Victoria, Farringdon and Canary Wharf. Four of the five bars are located in major London transport stations taking Stonegate into retailing within transport hubs, with the flagship Canary Wharf bar situated within the Crossrail development ahead of the Elizabeth line opening in 2018.

Sports Bar & Grill focuses on a sports-oriented, drink-led offering, which Stonegate believes is highly complementary to its existing market-leading representation in this category.

Following the acquisition, Stonegate will comprise 703. It is currently also in talks to acquire Revolution Bars Group.

Simon Longbottom, chief executive of Stonegate, said: “This is another excellent bolt-on acquisition for Stonegate which is right in our sweetspot and further consolidates our leading credentials in sports-led entertainment. We have long coveted a presence in key transport hubs and are excited about the opportunity which this presents.

“We have a proven track record of success in identifying, unlocking value and ultimately delivering higher returns from the pub assets which we acquire, as well as investing in the people within them. We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues into the enlarged group and providing our new customers – sports fans, families and commuters alike with some great Stonegate hospitality.”

Bar Holdings appointed Argyll Partners last September to review its options.

JD Wetherspoon had been in advanced talks for the chain, before ending its interest in February 2015.

It was believed that JDW led a field of bidders, which was understood to include a private equity firm, Glendola Leisure and Young’s, for the Sports Bar & Grill branded outlets.