One of the nation's leading hospitality venue owner-operators is effectively doubling its footprint in the Western Australian market after reaching acquisition and asset swap agreements for nine properties in Perth.
Adding to its 180-plus properties nationwide including some of Australia's most iconic pubs, bars and event spaces, Australian Venue Co (AVC) had reached deals to buy seven venues from Ark Group and two in an asset swap with Colonial Leisure Group (CLG).
The company's portfolio will now include Scarborough Beach Bear, The Galway Hooker, The Peach Pit, Durty Nelly’s, Market Grounds, The Generous Squire, the Bassandean Hotel, the Raffles Hotel and The Royal.
The latter two will be in exchange for AVC’s Melbourne pubs The Vincent and O’Connell’s.
This takes AVC's WA portfolio to 19 locations, building on the presence it has had in the state since 2017 when it acquired Publican Group with other properties including Victoria Park Hotel, The Aviary and The Guildford Hotel.
AVC CEO Paul Waterson said the acquisitions reflected the group’s confidence in Western Australian hospitality industry.
“We love operating in WA, it’s a really strong market. We have a great team on the ground and look forward to growing our team and our portfolio of venues in the state," he said.
“These pubs have been part of their community for decades, and we’re excited to be part of the next chapter. We can’t wait to meet the team and the locals at each of these venues.”
"These venues will continue to operate as usual following completion of the acquisition, anticipated in July 2022, and Australian Venue Co will continue to employ all venue staff."
Waterson added that asset swaps were an attractive option for active operators looking to enhance and consolidate their portfolios.
"We have a lot of mutual respect and understanding, and both parties can feel confident that they’ll acquire well-run venues. It’s an excellent opportunity for each group to purchase assets that play to their strengths," he said.
A spokesperson for Ark Group said it was a big decision to sell its venues, but it was easier knowing the Australian Venue Co team were renowned, quality hospitality operators and that the venues would be in excellent hands.
"Ark are proud of what the group has achieved and would like to especially thank all of our hardworking and dedicated staff and wish AVC all the best in the future," the spokesperson said.
In addition to the acquisition of nine venues, AVC has invested in the Western Australia hospitality industry with a recent $2.3 million renovation of Victoria Park Hotel and a $9 million renovation of the Claremont Hotel, which is due to re-open later this year.
Erratum: A previous version of this story had a headline photo of The Royal in the Perth CBD, which was not sold, instead of a different The Royal in East Perth which was the subject of the acquisition.
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