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Pubs Survived the Pandemic, But Now the Selloff Is Starting

  • JD Wetherspoon boss says regular punters are drinking at home
  • Stonegate seeking to sell 1,000 pubs to pay down debt
A Slug and Lettuce bar in Cardiff, Wales.
A Slug and Lettuce bar in Cardiff, Wales.Photographer: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Stonegate Pub Co. spent about £1.3 billion ($1.6 billion) buying rival Ei Group just before the pandemic, becoming Britain’s biggest pub group.

Three years on — and with a £2.6 billion debt pile — the owner of the Slug and Lettuce chain is ready to scale back. Stonegate, owned by private equity firm TDR Capital, plans to sell 1,000 of its pubs, or more than a fifth of the total, for an estimated £800 million, people familiar with the matter said.