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Stonegate is one of the largest pub companies in the UK, with more than 4,500 pubs and more than 19,000 workers. They own 450 pubs in London and among the chain’s massive portfolio are some of London’s most iconic and much loved queer venues. 

According to The Guardian, Stonegate is domiciled in the Cayman Islands and ultimately owned by TDR Capital, a private equity firm that also owns Asda. The Guardian recently reported, The UK’s biggest pubs and bars group has warned that there is no guarantee that it can continue as a going concern, as it struggles to refinance a £2.2bn debt mountain.

“Since the refinancing plans haven’t been executed, there is an indication that a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the company and group’s ability to continue as a going concern,” Stonegate said, as reported in The Guardian, and that the group, “may be unable to realise their assets and discharge their liabilities in the normal course of business”.

Despite private equity owner TDR’s assurances to a parliamentary select committee in January, GMB Union predicted trouble ahead. GMB Union has raised concerns, saying, “With current high interest rates, GMB Union is concerned refinancing could lead to crippling payments to service the debt”.

Since Stonegate issued it’s warning, GMB union has provided us with a list of the venues that they believe are at risk. The lists includes many of our most loved queer spaces. 

London’s Queer Venues At Risk

(extracted by QX from a more extensive list circulated by GMB Union)

Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer, said: “Now, hundreds of much loved pubs across London are in serious danger of pulling their last pint. It’s a disgrace.”

GMB has written to Lian Byrne MP, chair of the Business and Trade Select Committee, asking him to recall TDR bosses in light of the profit warning. 

According to The Guardian, Stonegate became the UK’s largest pub group when it purchased Ei Group (formerly Enterprise Inns) in 2019. The deal involved taking on billions in debt and only days later COVID struck.



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