Fuller to carry on in battle for Capital

London Pride brewer Fuller, Smith & Turner yesterday signalled its intention to fight on with a £54m bid to land a portfolio of leading pubs.

While the chain, which has 162 managed pubs in London and the south-east, revealed it has had two approaches for Capital Pub Company turned down, its executive chairman indicated it could now make a hostile bid.

Large London pubs have been selling for premium prices recently, which may explain the interest in Capital, which runs 34 managed pubs.

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Capital paid almost £3m for its two most recent acquisitions, the Mansion in West Dulwich for £1.55m and the Rye in Peckham for £1.37m, and responded to Fuller’s that even its latest 200p a share offer, which was raised from 175p, substantially undervalued the business and its prospects.

Capital added it has a clear growth strategy of building up its estate organically and through very selective acquisitions and intends to grow its estate to between 45 and 50 pubs over the next two years.

The group also confirmed it will resume dividend payments next week when it reports its latest full year figures.

Fuller’s added it would like to a negotiate a recommended deal but chairman Michael Turner said yesterday the company may engage directly with shareholders.

Capital was set up in 2000 by Clive Watson, formerly of Regent Inns and the co-founder of Tup Inns, and boasts David Bruce, who set up the Firkin pubs chain, as a non-executive director, with a brief to buy and develop stand-alone managed pubs.