OakNorth Bank provides loan to Red Oak Taverns, the nationwide pub operator, to acquire 18 pubs in the South West of England
20-08-2019
  • Red Oak Taverns was founded by Aaron Brown and Mark Grunnell in 2011 who continue to provide most of the day-to-day executive management resource to the group;
  • The finance will be used to acquire a portfolio of 18 pubs from Wadworth & Company Ltd, the regional brewer and pub operator based in Wiltshire, South West England;
  • OakNorth completed a £42m refinancing deal with Red Oak Taverns, in October last year.

OakNorth Bank – the UK bank powered by OakNorth – has provided acquisition funding to Red Oak Taverns, the leading tenanted pub provider. Red Oak Taverns tapped into the £10m Acquisition Facility arranged with OakNorth last year (£42m) as part of a wider refinance of the Red Oak Taverns business.

The finance from OakNorth will be used to acquire 18 pubs from Wadworth Brewery, the Wiltshire-based brewery company founded in 1875 which is famous for its 6x and Swordfish brands. Presently, the fifth-generation family business has an estate consisting of 198 public houses.

Since its launch in 2011, Red Oak Taverns has established a track record for breathing life back into pubs that have been run-down or fallen into disrepair. Led by co-founders Aaron Brown and Mark Grunnell, the company now has 179 sites across all areas of the UK, including 61 in the South West, 44 in the North West, 26 in the Midlands, 23 in South East, 18 in the North East, five in Wales and two in Scotland.

Mark Grunnell and Aaron Brown, co-founders Red Oak Taverns, commented: “We are delighted to have secured this quality portfolio of pubs from Wadworth. We believe the pubs and the licensees will benefit from Red Oak’s flexible approach to operated leased and tenanted pubs and from the £1m investment we have planned for the acquired portfolio. Having completed a successful refinance of our business with OakNorth last year, we knew they’d be the right partner to take this transaction forward and we’re grateful to Mo and the team for their ongoing support.”

Mohith Sondhi, Senior Debt Finance Director at OakNorth said: “The pub sector is competitive and fragmented, so businesses in this industry require an experienced team who can deliver alternative strategies for weaker units and maximise the potential of better ones. Mark and Aaron have proven they can do this – they have built a strong platform and have a clear strategy to sustainably grow the business in coming years. We’re delighted that after their first experience with us last year, they’ve come back to complete another transaction, and we look forward to continuing to support them in the future.”