Royds Withy King team advises on acquisitions for London pub chain with thirst for expansion

March 30, 2022

Lawyers from Bath-headquartered law firm Royds Withy King have helped a fast-growing pub group to expand its portfolio with the acquisition of six more outlets.

Five of the pubs taken over by Portobello Starboard are on the South Coast, with the sixth in Essex. 

The move, which takes the ambitious pub group’s estate to 22, comes just six months after it acquired a package of 12 pubs – 11 of them in South London suburbs and one in East London.

Portobello Starboard is an acquisition platform backed by private equity firm Zetland Capital and operated by independent West London craft brewery Portobello.

The firm has exchanged contracts with rival London firm The City Pub Group to acquire three iconic pubs in Brighton – The Lion & Lobster, The Walrus, pictured, and The Brighton Beach Club – along with the Inn On the Beach on Hayling Island in Hampshire, and The Travellers Friend in Woodford, Essex

Separately, it has completed the acquisition of The Grand Victorian pub in Worthing from Dominion Hospitality, an affiliate of Stellex Capital Management. 

The Royds Withy King team that advised Portobello on the deal included Krysha Hunt, James Worrall, Freya Still, Richard Roth and Tim Gofton.

Krysha, pictured, said: “It was great to work with the team at Portobello on its latest acquisition and we look forward to continuing to work with them as they grow their managed pubs business across the South of the UK.”

Portobello is planning to extensively refurbish the Worthing pub and develop an adjoining disused nightclub to create a flagship site with 36 en-suite bedrooms later this year, bringing the total number of bedrooms across its estate to 58.

Portobello chairman Mark Crowther said: “We are delighted to announce these acquisitions as we progress our strategy of acquiring predominantly freehold managed pubs across London and the South East.

“The South Coast sites will give us scale in that geography whilst also growing our London presence.”

The City Pub Group sale to Portobello was brokered by James Grimes at leisure property specialists AG&G.

Royds Withy King, which also has offices in Bristol, Swindon and Oxford, is to merge with London practice Goodman Derrick on May 1.

At present it employs around 520 people, including 70-plus partners, providing a wide range of services, from corporate and commercial to family and private client law, across a number of key sectors.


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