Wellington, Hugh Osmond's "other" pub company, is for sale at £250m, with Punch Taverns the favourite to acquire its 836 tenanted pubs, according to rumours. A spokesman for Punch said the company never commented on rumours. No one from Wellington was available to comment on the story, which values the estate at around £575,000 per pub including debt. The company, which was named after its original HQ in Wellington Road, St John's Wood, London, was founded by Osmond in November 1997 with the £150m purchase of 845 pubs from Nomura's Phoenix Inns, backed by Morgan Stanley. In March 1998 Wellington was the subject of what was claimed at the time to be the first ever pub securitisation, when it raised £230m in 30-year bonds secured on the rents from the pubs. Unlike Punch, its pubs are run free of tie, meaning the company's income comes from rents rather than a mixture of rents and beer sales. The following month Osmond launched Punch Taverns with the purchase of 1,500 tenanted pubs from Bass. The two companies remained separate, with Wellington run day-to-day by the formerly Nomura-owned Criterion Asset Management, but they have always shared directors, in particular Marc Jonas, a long-time associate of Osmond, who is still on both boards. In November 1998 Osmond hired Karen Jones to be chief executive of Wellington, before she went on to be chief executive of Punch Retail, now Spirit Group. In 2003, when Hugh Osmond's CMI was trying to acquire Six Continents, it boasted that its team record included growing profit at Wellington by a compound annual rate of 57% from 1998 to 2001. Osmond sold his interest in Punch to Texas Pacific in 2002, just before the company's flotation on the stock market. If Punch does acquire Wellington, currently the 9th biggest pubco in the UK, the purchase will take it to around 8,230 pubs, still some way behind Enterprise at around 8,930 pubs. Wellington is currently chaired by Brian Baldock, formerly group MD and deputy chairman of Guinness.