Downing Corporate Finance has provided funding for three pub operators to acquire their freeholds, writes Paul Charity. Antic has acquired the freehold interest in the Antelope, Tooting, south London, from Enterprise Inns for £2.1m. The company previously acquired the lease in August 2009 and invested £150,000 to refurbish the property and bring the site under the Antic brand. Downing Venture Capital Trust provided 100% funding for the investment in recognition of the higher valuation of the site through the marriage of the lease and freehold interest. Downing previously invested £4.2m into Antic in September 2009 to fund the purchase of three Punch freeholds and invested a further £4.2m earlier this year, which was used to acquire a number of freeholds in south London with development potential. Downing has also invested £545,000 in a new venture with Oak Taverns, which has bought freehold pubs the Cross Keys in Thame and the Swan in Faringdon, both in Oxfordshire. Oak Taverns previously managed the Cross Keys, which was owned by another company within the Oak Taverns group. The Swan was acquired from Enterprise for £150,000. The pub was shut in January and will be refurbished. Both sites will be run as real-ale specialists with microbreweries. Downing has invested £2m into a new company that has acquired Tramps Nightclub in Worcester — manager Dean Hill acquired the club from Nexum Leisure. Hill, a shareholder and director of the new company, has been general manager of the club since 1991. Michael Hughes, a Downing spokesman, said: “Since September 2009, Downing has provided funding support to six pub operators acquiring freehold assets and invested over £20m into the sector through VCTs and EIS Funds.”