Greene King (GK) has bought brewer and pub company Ridley & Sons for £45.6m.
The deal sees GK add 71 freehold tenanted pubs and two leasehold pubs to its rapidly expanding empire.
Included in the transaction is the Hartford End brewery in Chelmsford, Essex, and a distribution centre in Ipswich.
Nicholas Ridley, chairman of Ridley's, said: "We view Greene King as the best owner to develop our business for the future."
Greene King said the pubs, predominately in Essex, would complement its current estate of 2,064 pubs.
But consumer group the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) attacked GK's the deal, which will see the Hartford End brewery closed.
Camra wants the Government to reinstate legislation to force brewers with more than 2,000 pubs to allow their tenants to take a guest beer from a supplier of their choice.
A spokesman said: "Takeovers rarely lead to benefits for consumers and invariably lead to erosion of consumer choice and breweries close and beers are axed."
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