A NATIONAL brewery chain has bought a 51 per cent stake in the Dorset-based Stable pizza and cider restaurants.

Bridport’s Bull Hotel has also been sold to Fullers in a reported £7.2 million deal.

Owner Richard Cooper said the Fullers offer was a ‘good fit’ and would enable expansion of the successful pizza and cider restaurants.

He said: “The deal was signed on Monday and we are all very excited about it after eight years of being here it is obviously mixed emotions.

“But knowing that The Bull is going to a good company and will continue the success we have had over the last eight years helps.

“They approached us to invest in our Stable restaurants and we had come to a point where we needed some investors.

“They loved what we did and thought it was a very fresh and exciting. And we thought they were a good fit, being a family business too.”

The Coopers aim to focus on the expansion of the Stable brand. There are currently restaurants in Weymouth, Bridport, Poole, Bristol, Bath and Fistral Beach – and plan to open another ten to 12 restaurants.

Mr Cooper added: “The Stable has been our main focus for the last couple of years anyway.

Fullers has bought a 51 per cent stake in the Stable restaurants and given the funds for the expansion.

Mr Cooper said: “They have very deep pockets.”

Mr Cooper said they had been approached by a number of investors over the years but had not wanted to join forces with venture capitalists.