European private equity provider, Cinven, today announces that Enterprise Inns plc indicated in its AGM statement that, subject to any unforeseen circumstances, it intends to exercise its call option to acquire the 83.2% equity stake in the Unique Pub Company (“the Company”) currently held by a private equity consortium led by Cinven (“the Cinven Consortium”), before the end of March 2004. The consideration for the exercise of the call option is expected to be approximately £609 million. This transaction would be subject to the approval of Enterprise Inn’s shareholders.

In March 2002, Cinven led the group of investors which formed the Unique Pub Company Limited to purchase the combined estates of the Unique and Voyager pub estates. Enterprise Inns, a member of that group, acquired a 16.8% stake in the Company. The total enterprise value of the acquisition of the Unique and Voyager pub estates from Nomura International plc was £2,013 million.

Since acquisition, the operations of the two estates have been merged and an acceleration of the lease conversion programme of Voyager’s estate undertaken. The combined Unique and Voyager estate was the subject of a successful additional securitisation programme which raised £855 million. Following this securitisation, capital was returned to the Cinven Consortium and the terms of the call option altered to reflect this return of capital.

Dick Munton, a director of Cinven, said today:
“This has been a highly successful investment for Cinven which will result in a return of over two times our invested capital. When we made this investment, we knew that we were backing a management team with the ambition and experience to create significant value. The performance of the business has been excellent and is reflected in Enterprise Inn’s announced intention to exercise its call option.”

Yagnish Chotai, a director of Cinven, added:
“We are very pleased that a highly innovative transaction structure should see a successful outcome for both Cinven and Enterprise Inns.”