Amaroo Tavern has been acquired by publican Jim Knox as part of a targeted $28 million acquisition strategy that sees him take ownership of all five pubs in the northern NSW town of Moree.

Knox’s Moree portfolio now includes The Royal Hotel, The Post Office Hotel, the Victoria, the Moree Hotel, and the Amaroo Tavern, all of which have been purchased in the second half of this year.

The five hotels include a collective 63 gaming entitlements and three bottle shops within the town.

In partnership with local hotelier Patrick Gurr, Knox bought a freehold going concern interest in the Amaroo Tavern in an off-market deal negotiated by HTL Property’s Xavier Plunkett and Sam Handy.

Knox, who has agricultural interests in the area, says the targeted acquisition strategy in Moree is about building economies of scale in order to lift the offering of each venue.

“Attracting quality management and operational personnel is a major issue in these regional localities, however, given the scale and quality of the portfolio we have aggregated, we look forward to working with the existing team and attracting some top-quality and complementary talent to lift the overall offering at each of the respective venues,” Knox said. “The scale of this portfolio affords us the ability to do that.”

The pub was sold by hospitality vehicle Waratah Hotel Group which owned the asset for around 15 years and has pointed to favourable market conditions as the reason for the sale.

“The asset was sold at a premium to book value, and its divestment represents good business sense for Waratah unitholders,” Waratah fund director Darren Baker said.

The Amaroo Tavern has a public bar, bistro, commercial kitchen, drive-through bottle shop, 4am licence, gaming room, 18 Band 3 poker machine entitlements, a very large 10,000sqm footprint, and makes over $6 million in annual revenues, according to HTL Property.

“Operational and management synergies, complementary business models, a familiarity with the local market, and a deep entrenchment within the local community will benefit these hotels and the patrons of Moree who will ultimately enjoy them,” HTL’s Plunkett said.

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