KKR-backed Australian Venue Co nabs eight Melbourne hotels for $100m

KKR-backed Australian Venue Co nabs eight Melbourne hotels for $100m

Amid a huge influx of capital into the booming pub sector, Mr Waterson said AVC, which is backed by Wall Street private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), was now a “good-sized business” that would go close to doubling 2021 pre -tax earnings of $86 million this financial year.

Plans to float AVC in 2021, when it was valued at $1.32 billion, have been put on ice.

“Sales have been incredibly strong. This remains a great sector. Trade has recovered really well,” Mr Waterson said.

Sand Hill Road founders (from left) Andy Mullins, Tom Birch, Doug Maskiell and Matt Mullins at the Garden State Hotel. Pat Scala

He added that the latest acquisitions reflected AVC’s confidence in Melbourne’s hospitality industry.

The jewel in the crown is undoubtedly The Espy Hotel, one of Melbourne’s best known live-music venue, which Sand Hill Road purchased in 2017 and restored after years of neglect.

Another is the multi-level Garden State Hotel on Flinders Lane, Melbourne’s popular late night eating and drinking laneway.

“We have enormous respect for these venues and the teams who have made them what they are. We’re excited to welcome the team and to continue operating the venues with the passion, expertise and excellence that the Sand Hill Road team has delivered to date,” Mr Waterson said.

He said the vast majority of the Sand Hill Road leadership team and venue teams would be joining AVC.

Sand Hill Road, which was started in 2000 by five friends – brothers Andy and Matt Mullins, Andrew Larke, Doug Maskiell and Tom Birch – will retain ownership of The Espy freehold title. The group also owns the Waterside Hotel on Flinders Street in the CBD, which is closed for renovations and was not part of the deal with AVC.

The seven other venues acquired by AVC have different freehold owners including the Zagame family, which owns the Garden State Hotel.

“AVC is an awesome company, led by awesome people. And we know that the introduction of our own people into their team will create amazing opportunities for all,” Mr Mullins said.

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