LGV Capital, the private equity arm of Legal & General, has stepped back into the pub industry with the acquisition of CI Traders’ hospitality arm, in a deal worth between £65m and £70m. The new owner, which is a past investor in Tragus Holdings and Unique Pub Company, has appointed pub veteran Mark Crowther, the former chief executive of London Town, to run the group. The business acquired from CI Traders – or “Sandpiper CI” as it is now known – comprises 65 pubs located on Jersey (42), Guernsey (21) and Alderney (2), the Jersey Brewery and two drinks distribution businesses – Victor Hugo and Bucktrout & Co. Crowther will work alongside existing Sandpiper directors Declan Hearne, finance director, and Kenrick Brooks, operations director. In addition, Graham Turner, the chief executive of Tragus Holdings, has been appointed non-executive chairman. LGV has a strong association with Turner, who ran both Tragus and Unique while LGV was an investor. McQueen, the London-based corporate adviser, handled the sale process. Senior debt for the deal was provided by HSBC and Allied Irish Bank. The business was put up for sale following the purchase of CI Traders by Duke Street Capital last year. CI Traders intends to focus on its retail operations, which include a Marks & Spencer franchise and Wine Warehouse branded stores. Crowther left London Town in December, having taken the chief executive role in March, 2007. Prior to that he was on-trade sales director at Carlsberg UK and is also ex-managing director of Pauleys, a division of Brakes Foodservice. He started his career with Allied Domecq and went on to establish the Front Room chain of bars in London.