Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries (W&D) has won its race with the Laurel Pub Company to buy Wizard Inns.
It sealed the deal with a cash offer of £96.7m, beating off its rival, which offered £90m. W&D's offer included the £6.8m that Wizard Inns' business had already earned this year.
W&D said it would add the new pubs to its Pathfinder division, which includes the Pitcher & Piano chain, taking its managed house count above 500. The company said the deal would achieve overhead and purchasing savings of £2.5m for the year ending September 2005.
Wizard Inns' executive team will not be joining W&D and its head office will close, with the loss of 22 administration jobs. W&D said it expected to recruit most of Wizard Inns' field-based employees.
"This is a fantastic platform for us," said Derek Andrew, managing director of Pathfinder Pubs. "Although we've been growing organically in the south-east it's a slow process, so this deal is a great boost to our business growth."