Australian Venue Co. (AVC) has announced deals with two hospitality groups that will see its WA portfolio almost double in size.

AVC will acquire seven venues from Ark Group and a further two venues are being acquired as part of an asset swap with Colonial Leisure Group (CLG). 

AVC has been operating in WA since 2017 when it acquired Publican Group. These latest acquisitions will bring AVC’s portfolio in the state to 19 venues.

Australian Venue Co CEO Paul Waterson said the acquisitions reflect the group’s confidence in Western Australia’s hospitality industry.

“We love operating in WA, it’s a really strong market,” Waterson said. “We have a great team on the ground and look forward to growing our team and our portfolio of venues in the state.

“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.”

The venues will continue to operate as usual, AVC said, and the group will continue to employ all venue staff.

The Ark Group acquisitions include Perth venues Durty Nelly’s, Market Grounds, The Generous Squire and the Bassendean Hotel – which is currently closed for renovations. In Scarborough, the acquisitions include the Scarborough Beach Bar, Galway Hooker and The Peach Pit. 

An Ark Group spokesperson said, “It’s a big decision for us to sell our venues, but it is easier knowing that the Australian Venue Co. team are renowned, quality hospitality operators and that the venues are in excellent hands moving forward.

“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.”

AVC’s asset swap with CLG will see it take over The Raffles Hotel and The Royal in Perth, in return for AVC’s Melbourne pubs The Vincent and O’Connell’s.

CLG CEO Tim Fitzgerald said the group’s new Melbourne additions were a great fit for the group’s growing collection of venues on Melbourne’s inner bayside.

“O’Connell’s and The Vincent are institutions in their own right. Both hotels are beloved in their local communities with outstanding reputations that have been built over many decades,” he said.

“That ethos aligns perfectly with CLG’s DNA of operating iconic venues that deliver exceptional service, food, and wine, as demonstrated at The Albert Park Hotel, The Railway Club Hotel, Half Moon at Brighton, and Portsea Hotel.”

According to Fitzgerald, the move was part of the group’s continuing refocus towards its home state of Victoria.

“Although CLG was originally born in Western Australia, our home is now firmly in Melbourne so we want to focus all of our passion and energy on venues that are in our local communities.

“We see the future of CLG as being the leaders in Melbourne’s modern pub culture, with a heavy emphasis on food-centric destinations with exceptional service.”

Fitzgerald said that Raffles and The Royal had been much-loved members of the CLG family, but he was confident that with AVC’s large footprint in WA, the group was well-placed to continue the legacies of these two venues.

Waterson said 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.”

AVC has also embarked on a $9m renovation of the Claremont Hotel, which is due to re-open later this year, and a $2.3m renovation of Victoria Park Hotel, both in Western Australia.

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