Mitchells & Butlers

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Mitchells & Butlers plc
Public company
Traded asLSEMAB
IndustryRestaurants, Pubs
Founded15 April 2003
HeadquartersBirmingham, United Kingdom
Key people
Bob Ivell, (chairman)
Phil Urban, (CEO)
Productsc. 1784 restaurants and pubs
Revenue£2,152 million (2018)[1]
£303 million (2018)[1]
£104 million (2018)[1]
Number of employees
43,777 (2018)[1]
SubsidiariesAll Bar One
Browns Restaurants
Toby Carvery
Innkeeper's Lodge

Mitchells & Butlers plc (LSEMAB) (also referred to as "M&B") runs circa 1,784 managed pubs, bars and restaurants throughout the United Kingdom. The company's headquarters are in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Its branded restaurants and bars include All Bar One, Miller & Carter, Nicholson's, Toby Carvery, Harvester, Browns Restaurants, Vintage Inns and Premium Country Pubs.


Historic brewing company[edit]

The Cape Hill brewery, in Birmingham, on a circa 1925 postcard

Mitchells & Butlers Brewery was formed by the merger of two breweries in 1898.[2] The company merged with Bass in 1961.[2] With the brand currently under ownership of Coors Brewers, the brewery closed in 2002 with production switched to Burton upon Trent.[3] Their most famous beer was Brew XI (using Roman numerals, and so pronounced Brew Eleven), advertised with the slogan "for the men of the Midlands". It is now brewed under licence for Coors by Brains of Cardiff.[4]


Bass plc, based in Burton-on-Trent, transformed into separate brewing and retail divisions following the Beer Orders of 1989[2] and then proceeded to build a large hotel portfolio alongside its bingo, betting and electronic leisure interests. In the late 1990s the latter interests were sold. On 21 July 1995, Bass bought 78 Harvester restaurants for £165 million from the Forte Group.[5]

Six Continents[edit]

In 2000, Bass also divested its brewing arm and rebranded itself Six Continents[2] before another split in April 2003 into two separate companies, with the hotel assets forming InterContinental Hotels Group and the Mitchells & Butlers name brought back for the pubs and restaurants company.[2] In March 2003, Six Continents fought off a proposed £5.5 billion takeover by Hugh Osmond (Punch Taverns).[6]

M and B[edit]

Mitchells & Butlers was formed on 15 April 2003. In April 2006, it was approached by a consortium led by Robert Tchenguiz in a £2.7 billion takeover, which was dropped in May 2006.[7] In February 2008, Punch Taverns offered to merge with Mitchells & Butlers,[8] but decided not to in April 2008.[9] Mitchells & Butlers then took an interest in Punch's subsidiary, Spirit Group.[10]

Financial loss[edit]

A Harvester pub with adjacent Travelodge in Colton, Leeds

In January 2008, Mitchells & Butlers announced significant losses (£274million)[11] arising out of closure of hedge positions taken in anticipation of a property joint venture that were eventually cancelled due to the credit crunch caused by the subprime mortgage financial crisis.[12][13]


By 2006, Mitchells & Butlers had 130 Harvester restaurants. In 2001, it added Arena, Ember Inns, Flares, Goose, Sizzling Pub Co, Browns, Alex and Inn Keeper's Lodge to its list of brands.[14] In July 2006, Mitchells & Butlers purchased 239 pub restaurants (Beefeater and Brewers Fayre without a Premier Inn) from Whitbread for £497 million to strengthen its food business ahead of the introduction of a smoking ban in enclosed public spaces in England in 2007.[15] It had first announced its interest in April 2006.[16] In July 2008 Mitchells & Butlers bought 44 restaurants from Whitbread – its former Brewers Fayre and Beefeater outlets that were not next to a Premier Inn.[17] In September 2010 Mitchells & Butlers bought the 22 restaurants of the (upmarket) Ha Ha! chain from the Bay Restaurant Group for £19.5 million. Twelve were turned into All Bar One and six into Browns Restaurants. The Ha Ha! brand disappeared.[18]

In June 2014, the company announced plans to acquire the bulk of one of its major competitors, Orchid Group, for £266 million. The acquisition included 173 pubs.[19]

Sale of pubs[edit]

In October 2006, Mitchells & Butlers sold off 102 of its smaller community pubs to Chorley-based Trust Inns for £101 million.[20] On 15 July 2010, it was announced that Travelodge had acquired the leases of 52 Innkeeper's Lodge Hotels around Glasgow, Birmingham, Liverpool, Northampton, Milton Keynes and Leeds areas from Mitchells & Butlers.[21] It also sold its 25 Hollywood Bowl outlets in August 2010 for £39 million to AMF Bowling.[22] In November 2010, Mitchells & Butlers sold 333 pubs to the Stonegate Pub Company (of London and owned by TDR Capital) for £373 million. These pubs were the drinks-focussed (lower price) outlets such as Flares and Scream Pubs, which mostly had late-night licences. Also sold were High Street Bars & Venues, Town Pubs and Community Pubs.[23]

Poor results and dismissal of CEO[edit]

In September 2015, Mitchells & Butlers issued a profits warning and dismissed CEO Alistair Darby. He was replaced by Phil Urban, who joined as COO in January from Grosvenor Casinos and previously ran Whitbread's pub restaurants division.[24]


Mitchells & Butlers owns several brands of pubs, including:[25]

Nicholson's pubs tend to be historic pubs aimed at the tourist market, located in London and other historic cities. Amongst Mitchells & Butlers' portfolio is Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, a St Albans public house listed by the Guinness Book of Records as being the United Kingdom's oldest.[26]


  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2018" (PDF). Mitchells & Butlers. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Our history". Mitchells & Butlers. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
  3. ^ "Brewery at Quaffle". Directory of Real Ale Breweries. Retrieved 3 October 2008.
  4. ^ Mail, Birmingham (12 January 2012). "Top Ten: Brum's best beers". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  5. ^ John Shepherd (22 July 1995). "Forte sells Harvester pub chain". The Independent. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Six Continents wins £5.5bn bid battle". BBC News. 13 March 2003. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Investors drop M&B pub group bid". BBC News. 8 May 2006. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  8. ^ "Punch unveils M&B merger proposal". BBC News. 4 February 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Punch rules out pub deal with M&B". BBC News. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  10. ^ "M&B eyes Punch pub chain Spirit". BBC News. 14 April 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  11. ^ "Pub owner's credit crunch losses". BBC News. 29 January 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  12. ^ Bowers (28 January 2008). "M&B could blow a year's profit on £300m hedge loss". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
  13. ^ Bowers (29 January 2008). "Tchenguiz raises stake in pub group". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
  14. ^ Cunill, Onofre Martorell (2006). The Growth Strategies of Hotel Chains: Best Business Practices by Leading Companies. New York: Haworth Hospitality. p. 29. ISBN 0789026643.
  15. ^ "Beefeater sites bought by M&B". BBC News. 21 July 2006. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  16. ^ "M&B confirms Beefeater interest". BBC News. 28 April 2006. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  17. ^ Jonathan Sibun (31 May 2008). "Whitbread eyes further swaps after Mitchells & Butler's deal". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  18. ^ Hiscott, Graham (18 September 2010). "Mitchells & Butlers buys Ha Ha bar chain for £19.5million". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  19. ^ Chad Bray (16 June 2014). "Britain's Mitchells & Butlers to Acquire 173 Pubs". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  20. ^ "M&B sells off 102 community pubs". BBC News. 5 October 2006. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  21. ^ Paskin, Becky (15 July 2010). "Travelodge acquires 52 hotels from Mitchells & Butlers". Bighospitality. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  22. ^ "Mitchells & Butlers sells its Hollywood Bowl business". BBC. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  23. ^ "Stonegate Pubs". Stonegate Pubs. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  24. ^ "Mitchells & Butlers calls time on chief executive Alistair Darby | Business". The Guardian. Press Association. 22 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  25. ^ "Mitchells & Butlers – Our brands". Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  26. ^ Burrows, Thomas; Smith, Jennifer (25 May 2015). "PETA demand Britain's oldest pub in St Albans to change its name". Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 August 2015.

External links[edit]