VC-backed Bravo Inns drinks to landmark deal

Albion Ventures-backed pub chain Bravo Inns has acquired its thirtieth pub.

North West of England pub operator has bought Albion Hotel in Accrington with the help of institutional backer Albion Ventures.

The Bravo Inns business was originally formed in 2007 with the support of venture capital firm Albion, and has since undergone a buy-and-build strategy of acquiring pubs. So far, the venture capital firm has invested £8.5 million into the chain.

According to Bravo Inns, the Albion Hotel is being bought closed, but will now receive investment to allow it to ‘once again play a central role in the community’.

Ken Buckley, managing director at Warrington-based Bravo Inns, says that the name of the company’s new acquisition is ‘fitting’ given the support it has received from Albion Ventures.

He adds, ‘Our approach shows how well managed wet led pubs can combine commercial success with the ability to play a key role in their local community.

‘With Albion’s continued support we are looking to expand our portfolio over the coming months and have a strong pipeline of potential sites that are set to enhance our estate.’

Buckley is a pub industry veteran, who after a career at Greenalls, latterly as the themed pub divisional director, founded the Bold Pub Company before selling it in 2007.

The partnership between Albion and Bravo Inns has seen the acquisition of ‘heavily underperforming pubs’. The sites acquired in the last two years have reportedly generated blended returns on capital of over 20 per cent, with the figure ‘likely to mature as the sites mature’.

Will Fraser-Allen, deputy managing partner at Albion Ventures, says, ‘It’s testament to Ken Buckley and his management team that this has been achieved against a tough economic climate where consumer spending has been squeezed.’

Albion Ventures is a venture capital investor, specialising in VCTs, and has £230 million under management. The business of Albion Ventures was formerly known as Close Ventures and was acquired by its management in 2009 from Close Brothers Group.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.