Market Town Taverns, the Yorkshire-based operator led by Ian Fozard, has been acquired by Heron & Brearley, the Isle of Man’s biggest hospitality operator, for an undisclosed sum. Founded by Fozard in 1999, Market Town Taverns operates 15 pubs across North and West Yorkshire. It will become Heron & Brearley’s operational vehicle in the UK. Heron & Brearley currently operates a managed estate of 48 pubs, 43 in the Isle of Man, four in the north west of England and one in Wales. Its portfolio includes an in-house brewery, Okells, founded in 1850 and producing award-winning beers as well as the Island’s largest drinks wholesaler. The acquisition will strengthen Heron & Brearley foothold in the UK, and allow it to establish a high-profile presence in Yorkshire. It will also allow it in the longer term to expand further across the north of England. It said that there would be “no fundamental change” at Market Town Taverns with Fozard having agreed to remain in post for at least 12 months. Steven Taylor, group retail director said: “Heron & Brearley has been in business for well over a century and has survived and flourished by recognising and seizing new opportunities. “Given the level of consolidation industry-wide, in the current economic climate an acquisition package of this calibre is rare. Market Town Taverns is a well-run operation and its business model, with a strong focus on delivering excellent customer service complements our own philosophy.” Fozard said: “We are pleased that the values and unique customer proposition which have contributed to our success during the past 12 years have been recognised by Heron & Brearley, an operator that shares our own view that quality of service and product are paramount in today’s difficult trading environment. I am confident our joint expertise and the support of our dedicated staff will help realise our respective business aspirations and lead to continued success and growth. “I would also like to thank our 30 or so shareholders who supported me in 1999 when I formed the company. I am pleased that Market Town Taverns is in good hands with new owners who share our operating philosophy.” Market Town reported a 30% increase in profit for its most recent year. The company, which had 11 taverns trading in the financial year, saw turnover grow by 19% to £5.1m and profit before tax jump 30% to £428,000. Fleurets advised Heron & Brearley on the deal.