After a two-year hiatus, Australian Venue Co (AVC) has entered into an acquisition agreement for eight Sand Hill Road venues, including the famed Esplanade Hotel.

The deal was originally set to take place in early March 2020, but was curtailed within weeks of the announcement due to the outbreak of the covid pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Both companies stated they would return to the deal once the trading environment had stabilised. After a return to sustained trading, the deal is back on.

The purchase agreement is for The Espy, Garden State Hotel, Prahran Hotel, Terminus Hotel in Abbotsford, Richmond Club Hotel, The Posty, Bridge Hotel and Holliava. Sand Hill Road will retain the Waterside Hotel on the edge of the CBD.

Australian Venue Co CEO Paul Waterson said the acquisitions reflect the group’s confidence in Melbourne’s hospitality industry and the strong alignment between the two group’s ethos.

“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.”

The eight venues will continue to operate as usual following completion of the acquisition and AVC will offer employment to all venue staff.

“We’re delighted that a vast majority of the Sand Hill Road leadership team and venue teams are coming across to work with us. We’re looking forward to welcoming them to the team and sharing our strengths and experiences with each other,” stated Waterson.

Andy Mullins, co-founder of Sand Hill Road, reflected on the growth of the group, and what lay ahead.

“Today we are entrusting Australian Venue Co with venues that represent 22 years of work. We are so deeply grateful to every single staff member and every single supplier who has worked an hour, a week, a month or ten years with us along the way.

“We are currently planning our biggest project to date at The Waterside Hotel in Melbourne, but we’ll always treasure the love and laughter we’ve had along the way in our original venues. 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.”

AVC has been acquiring landmark hospitality destinations in Melbourne since the group’s beginnings in 2015.

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