Heard of them? Possibly not. It's where a pub is put up for sale with a specific condition of sale excluding it being used by the future buyer as licensed premises ever again. This anti competitive practice which basically says "if we can't make money out of it, nobody else is allowed to try" should have been banned by law years ago. A lot of pub owning companies and breweries do it, including some which ought to know better. In almost every case, it's just plain wrong.
Now Enterprise Inns has followed Punch Taverns in removing restrictive covenants from pub sales. This may just give the opportunity to those with a keen eye to spot a business opportunity and snap up decent but failing pubs, dragged down the dead weight of the PubCos pressing down on them. Small brewers and pub chains will be watching this carefully and hopefully at least some pubs, abandoned by the big two, will see a new lease of life under more considerate ownership.
This is the latest in a line of concessions by the big two PubCos in an effort to persuade Peter Mandelson not to refer them to the Competition Commission. Enterprise and Punch are suddenly coming over all reasonable, but they they are beyond voluntary reform and should still be referred.This death bed conversion is too little and too late.
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