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UPDATE 1-Marston's to take over struggling Brains pubs in Wales

(Adds details on deal, background)

Dec 23 (Reuters) - Marston’s said on Wednesday it would take over Brains’ 156 pubs in Wales in a deal that would save 1,300 jobs, as Britain’s latest round of COVID-19 lockdowns hammer pub and restaurant operators during the crucial Christmas season.

The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Marston’s said the deal would address Brains’ funding requirements.

The London-listed company has itself launched consultations on up to 2,150 job losses to deal with the sales hit from lockdowns, and earlier this month called for more government support to bail out the sector.

“As a consequence of the challenges of COVID, and in particular the recently announced more stringent additional trading restrictions in Wales, Brains’ business has been under significant financial pressure,” Marston’s said.

Shares in the pub group rose 2.3% to 70.5 pence in early trade as the company said the deal was expected to add to its earnings in the first year after completion.

The transaction will also raise costs by up to 2 million pounds ($2.69 million), the company said.

Marston’s, a two-century-old brewer known for its Pedigree, Hobgoblin and Lancaster Bomber beers, said Brains’ portfolio was complementary with its estate and that it intends to operate the pubs under the Brains’ brand. ($1 = 0.7447 pounds) (Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Aditya Soni)

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