Some of Australia’s best-known pubs, bars and restaurants have a new owner after hospitality group Australian Venue Co was snapped up by foreign investors.
PAG Private Equity will pay an undisclosed fee to the venue chain’s parent KKR, the parties announced on Friday, but the AFR has quoted sources claiming the deal is worth about $1.4 billion.
The properties changing hands include the Claremont Hotel in Perth, Sydney’s Cargo Bar and renowned Melbourne live music venue the Esplanade Hotel, which served as the filming location for SBS trivia program Rockwiz.
AVC chief executive Paul Waterson will remain at the helm despite the change of ownership.
He said the agreement marks an exciting time for the company and its 8500 employees.
“We look forward to working with our new partners in PAG,” he said in a media release.
“Their investment affirms the strength of the platform and our future growth potential in Australia and New Zealand.”
The move comes after a recent flurry of Australian acquisitions by PAG, including Red Rooster owner Craveable Brands and Four’N Twenty pies manufacturer Patties Foods.
Lincoln Pan, co-head of PAG, said AVC is a proven market leader with an exceptional management team and great potential.
“AVC has created some of the most unique and iconic venues across Australia and New Zealand and we are looking forward to supporting them on their next stage of growth,” he said.
US-based investment firm KKR acquired AVC in 2017 and undertook a campaign of rapid expansion to grow the brand from 50 to 210 venues.
The transaction is expected to be wrapped up in late 2023, subject to regulatory approvals.