Moore Barlow advises Darwin & Wallace on its sale to The Portobello Pub Company

Roger Bailey and the Corporate team have played a pivotal role in helping to structure and deliver on the acquisition of London-based, neighbourhood bar-restaurant business, Darwin & Wallace by the Portobello Pub Company.

Darwin & Wallace – which boasts venues in key London neighbourhoods including Battersea Power Station, Clapham Old Town, Wimbledon and Richmond – will continue to operate under the same name.

Darwin & Wallace was founded by Mel Marriott in 2012, backed by leading private equity firm Imbiba and more than 200 smaller individual shareholders, via the government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme. The deal structure was complex and involved takeover offers by Portobello Pub Company for the shares in Darwin & Wallace which were declared wholly unconditional on 9 April.

Mark Crowther, chairman of the Portobello Pub Company, commented:

This is a fantastic acquisition for Portobello, bringing an extremely successful and high-quality business under our umbrella. It represents a fantastic opportunity for us to blend our existing high-quality estate of pubs and restaurants with a collection of truly excellent and premium high-street hospitality venues.

Mel and her team have done an extraordinary job in creating and building the business over the past decade, and we’d like to thank her for trusting us to be careful custodians; we are looking forward to taking Darwin & Wallace to the next level. We’d also like to thank the teams at both Imbiba and Zetland for supporting this deal, enabling us to start this exciting new chapter at Portobello.

I am incredibly proud of what we’ve built at Darwin & Wallace and am immensely grateful to everybody who has been a part of this journey. While it’s the end of an era for me, what we have created is truly special and I am looking forward to watching the business continue to flourish under the stewardship of Mark, Richard and the Portobello team.

Mel Marriot – Founder of Darwin & Wallace

Moore Barlow acted for Darwin & Wallace. Corporate partner, Roger Bailey, who led the Moore Barlow deal team commented:

We are delighted to have played such a key role in structuring and supporting this deal and making it happen. Darwin & Wallace is a great business and we are pleased to have played our part in enabling it to be combined with Portobello’s existing estate. I’m looking forward to continuing to visit the bars under their new ownership.

Simon Wheeler, a partner at Imbiba and a director of Darwin & Wallace until the deal completed, added:

Roger and the Moore Barlow team put in a fantastic effort on this complicated and significant deal. Their extensive knowledge of our sector coupled with their experience in putting complex deals together along with a ‘can-do’ attitude throughout were essential to its success.

Media mentions

Moore Barlow advises on deal for bar-restaurant business – Inside Media – 12 April 2024