In the biggest British private-equity deal of the past year, Spirit Group acquired Scottish & Newcastle Retail for £2.5 billion. The deal added a further 1,400 pubs, restaurants and bars to Spirit’s original portfolio of more than 1,000. They include the chains Two For One and Qs. Spirit was formed in 2002 with the demerger of the managed pubs business of Punch Group and is headed by Karen Jones. Spirit’s sales were an annualised £489m in the year to August 2003, and its operating profit is a healthy £104m. Thanks to the Scottish & Newcastle Retail deal, sales are expected to be £1 billion higher next year.
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