New owners for pubs in Morpeth, Ashington, and Whitley Bay after period in administration

A collection of North East pubs that includes some in Northumberland has been bought out of administration.
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Milton Portfolio Op Co 3, which owned Ashington’s The Elephant, The Black Bull in Morpeth, and Whitley Bay’s The Victoria and Dirty Habit, entered administration in November last year, but the pubs remained open.

24 of the 25 pubs owned by the company have now been sold to pub company Punch, which is based in Burton.

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The Victoria has been sold to Blackpool based company Amber Taverns.

The Elephant and The Black Bull are now owned by Punch. (Photo by Google)The Elephant and The Black Bull are now owned by Punch. (Photo by Google)
The Elephant and The Black Bull are now owned by Punch. (Photo by Google)

Ryan Grant, managing director at administrators Interpath Advisory, said: “We are delighted to have reached this agreement, which will see this portfolio of highly profitable, strong performing and established pubs move into new ownership.

“We would like to thank the many stakeholders who have supported us throughout this process, including all those who assisted in the trading of the venues while the sales process was ongoing.”

Emma Turnbull from Avison Young, the joint agent for the sale of the pubs alongside Watling Real Estate, said: “Interest exceeded our expectation, which demonstrates that the market remains strong for the right pub product in what is considered to be a difficult trading environment.

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“I look forward to following the progress of the pubs, many of which are local to me.”

According to Avison Young, a competitive bidding process had been underway since February with a lot of interest from corporate trade operators.

Eventual buyers Punch will maintain the management services of Queensway Advisory, which has been assisting in keeping the pubs trading during the last few months, as it gradually incorporates the new pubs into its portfolio.

Punch CEO Clive Chesser said: “We are delighted to have acquired these excellent pubs, and we are excited about the future as we welcome them into the Punch family.

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“With the help of our industry-leading investment and support, we will ensure these pubs remain at the heart of their communities and continue to thrive for many years to come.

“We are looking forward to providing further updates as our plans progress.”

The Victoria in Whitley Bay town centre has been closed by new owners Amber Taverns for refurbishment following the takeover.

Gary Roberts, operations director for Amber Taverns, said: “We have purchased the premises out of administration and the business will remain closed for a few months whilst we submit a licensing application and plan a refurbishment, investing over £800,000.

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“Whitley Bay centre has been a target town for Amber Taverns for over 15 years and we are excited to have finally found a perfect opportunity to invest and develop an amazing modern community pub.”

Milton Portfolio Op Co 3 comprised pubs in the North East and Yorkshire that were formerly owned by Wear Inns and had been sold to previous owner Aprirose in 2018.

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