OakNorth Bank completes £40M loan to Zetland Capital to acquire and expand pub portfolio operated by Portobello Starboard

  • The portfolio is made up of 17 high quality freehold pubs located across London villages / suburbs and the South coast and operated by Portobello Starboard;
  • With the loan from OakNorth Bank, Zetland Capital will grow this pub portfolio through acquisitions across London and the south of England;
  • Pubs were some of the worst-hit businesses by the pandemic. In December, with Omicron concern at its peak, pub and bar groups suffered a double-digit drop on sales from pre-COVID-19 after widespread cancellations of Christmas celebrations[1].

OakNorth Bank, the UK bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, has provided Zetland Capital, the London-based private equity firm, with a £40M facility to acquire and expand its portfolio of pubs operated by Portobello Starboard.

Zetland Capital focuses on investing in mid-market European special situations across a wide range of sectors with a focus on tangible assets. Its portfolio of pubs is operated by Portobello Starboard, the pub operating company led by industry heavyweight Mark Crowther. With the loan from OakNorth Bank Zetland Capital will provide the financial support to grow its portfolio of high-quality freehold pubs through acquisitions across London and the south of England – starting with five, including three in Brighton. The portfolio includes the flagship Westow House in Crystal Palace, which has recently added 22 en‐suite bedrooms, along with other locations including Effra Social in Brixton and Pratts & Payne in Streatham.

Deepesh Thakrar, Senior Director of Debt Finance at OakNorth Bank, continued: “At OakNorth Bank, we don’t take a broad-brush approach when it comes to analysing a business. Even in challenged sectors, there will always be strong businesses, so we see this is as a good opportunity to support a strong sponsor with a portfolio of pubs in good locations, run by a well-regarded operator.”

Mark Crowther, Executive Chairman of Portobello Starboard, said: “We are delighted to have completed this acquisition and to partner with Zetland Capital. Zetland’s backing will enable us to invest in these great pubs and our fantastic teams, supporting the recovery and to acquire further pubs in the South of England. Given the challenges pubs have faced over the last two years, there aren’t many lenders who would consider supporting the sector at the moment. However, through looking at the portfolio’s past performance, as well as taking a forward-look view of its future potential, OakNorth Bank was able to put together a facility which will keep these pubs thriving and enable us to further expand the portfolio.”

Westfort Advisors advised Zetland Capital on the transaction.



Notes to editors

About OakNorth Bank plc

Launched in September 2015 and founded by entrepreneurs, OakNorth Bank provides fast, flexible, and accessible debt finance to the UK’s Missing Middle.

Since its launch, the bank has:

  • Lent over £7B, directly helping with the creation of 31,600 new jobs and 22,300 new homes across the UK.
  • Raised deposits from c.160,000 savers.
  • Supported several hundred businesses across the UK with the debt finance to pursue their growth ambitions.

It is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. 


Valentina Kristensen, Director – Growth & Communications – valentina.kristensen@oaknorth.co.uk / press@oaknorth.co.uk / +44 757 234 9009

[1] Source: CGA

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