In one of the biggest British private-equity deals of the past two years, Spirit Group acquired Scottish & Newcastle Retail for £2.5 billion in 2003. The deal added a further 1,400 pubs, restaurants and bars to Spirit’s original portfolio of more than 1,000, which includes Two for One and John Barras. The effect is clear in the company’s latest results, with sales jumping £1,200m to £1,616m. Operating profits remain undisclosed at present but earnings before interest, tax and depreciation reached £424m. Spirit, headed by Karen Jones, was formed in 2002 with the demerger of the managed-pubs business of Punch Group. Late last year it sold 364 pubs for £345m to Globe Pub Company, owned by the property developer Robert Tchenguiz.
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