By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier

After expressing interest in the Keystone portfolio only towards the end of the sale campaign, Dixon Hospitality has been named the preferred bidder for a large portion of the Keystone portfolio, focusing on its Sydney-based venues, excluding the Jamie’s Italian restaurants.

Sydney's Cargo Bar

In a last-minute move, Dixon Hospitality – based in Melbourne but steadily moving into the hospitality market in New South Wales – has acquired Cargo Bar, The Winery, The Rook, Manly Wine, and Bungalow 8/The Loft.

While it will also acquire restaurants Chophouse Sydney and Kingsleys Woolloomooloo, their respective Perth and Brisbane venues have been left out of the deal. Notably, the Jamie’s Italian restaurants have also not been included in the acquisition – suggesting that Dixon Hospitality will continue to focus on pubs, bars and function spaces.

“Until now we have focused our growth in Melbourne, however we recently announced two greenfield projects in the Barangaroo development and now this acquisition further demonstrates our commitment to expansion up the eastern seaboard,” said Bruce Dixon, CEO of Dixon Hospitality Group.

“This deal that will see us secure some great venues that are profitable, well regarded and that represent very good value for our shareholders.” 

Ferrier Hodgson receiver Morgan Kelly explained that the deal remains subject to final due diligence.

“As part of the remaining due diligence process, Dixon Group representatives will this week commence meetings with management of the venues. 

“Other shortlisted parties have been advised of the selection of the Dixon Group as Preferred Bidder at this stage. 

“We are also in final stage negotiations with separate bidders for the sale of the remaining venues.”

Kelly suggested that the most bids for the Keystone venues were for specific venues or groups of venues, rather than for the entire portfolio.

“The decision to separate the Keystone Group assets for sale was taken to maximise sale proceeds.

“Through the competitive bid process run by CBRE Hotels, it became clear that prospective buyers were most interested in specific venues that strategically aligned with their own businesses. 

“The businesses are all continuing to operate on a business as usual basis,” Kelly stated.

The Keystone venues acquisition will take the Dixon Hospitality venue total to 45 venues in total, and will significantly bolster the expanding pub group’s presence in the Sydney market. 

“The acquisition is moving quickly so that we can retain some of the great Keystone staff and get service, quality and capital investment in place so venues are operating at their full potential,” concluded Dixon.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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