Punch Taverns and Whitbread could be forced to take over Threshers stores in the wake of its parent First Quench Retailing falling into administration.
First Quench’s administrator KPMG has yet to say how many off-licences could revert to the two companies, although both said they believed the number would not be “material”.
A Whitbread spokesman told The Telegraph: “We are aware that some leases could revert to Whitbread, although the number isn’t thought to be significant.”
First Quench was created in 1998 after Whitbread merged Threshers with Victoria Wine, owned by Allied Domecq. Punch Taverns subsequently bought Allied Domecq’s stake in the business.
The business was sold to Principal Finance Group, the private equity group, in 2000 but the reversionary risk is split equally between Whitbread and Punch.
There were 1,500 properties when First Quench was sold to the two companies, of which 800 were leasehold sites. Of these, 200 remain, the majority of which are likely to be acquired from the administrators or will continue to trade with new owners. The balance could revert to Whitbread or Punch.