The Oakman Group has snapped up six public houses from the administrators of Seafood Pub Company Holdings Limited.
In addition to the restoration of some 150 jobs, the deal provides good news for suppliers including the UK’s sustainable fishing industry.
The new acquisitions will strengthen Oakman’s aspirations to have 40 pubs in its portfolio by the end of 2021. It also takes the chain from its geographical heartland in the south and Midlands to Lancashire and Yorkshire.
The Seafood Pub Company portfolio is understood to have attracted a huge amount of interest from a wide range of potential buyers including corporate, regional and local operators, as well as a number of high net worth individuals.
It is fantastic to see the Oakman Group expanding their. This was an incredibly complex transaction in very challenging times, and none of us expected to still be in lockdown 12 months on. The deal demonstrates that the market is not as depressed as many would have you believe, although we are waiting for further clarity on the rent moratorium at the end of March and, if this isn’t extended, it is likely we may see more distressed assets coming to the market.”
Former founder and managing director, Joycelyn Neve, will be joining the Oakman Group as managing director of a new Seafood Pub division, initially based in the North. She will report directly to the group CEO Dermot King.
Mr King said: “I am delighted that we have acquired these sites which will be the foundation stone for the third brand within our group – with the Seafood Pub joining the Oakman Inns and Beech House brands within our portfolio.
“Furthermore, these acquisitions will represent the next stage in our strategic development as we look to extend our boundaries beyond our Home Counties heartland.
“We believe that there is significant untapped potential, in the premium pub sector, and I am not placing any upper limits on our ambition.”
Ms Neve commented: “I have been a huge admirer of the Oakman Group, its ethos and its ambition. They have acquired the cream of the Seafood Pub Company sites and I’m confident that, with the Oakman team’s support, we will prove to be enormously successful. My expectation at this stage is that all six pubs will reopen on May 17 and we will immediately start work on putting our new teams together.”
Meanwhile, Oakman also revealed that operations director Alex Ford has been appointed managing director of Oakman Inns and will also report directly to Dermot King.