By Clyde Mooney
In a shroud of corporate secrecy the country’s largest pub operator is quietly getting a little larger.
Australian Liquor and Hospitality (ALH) managing director, Ross Blair-Holt today rejected media reports that the company had tightened its stranglehold on Australian pubs with the purchase of another 32 venue leases.
He told TheShout the company "hadn’t signed anything”, reiterating that ALH has always stated an interest in the Laundy venues and this was unchanged. He dismissed the reports as 'column filler'.
But this was in stark contrast to comments by a Laundy Hotel Group spokesperson, who told TheShout that “a preliminary agreement of lease was signed yesterday, and is now going to the ACCC”.
The latest lease acquisitions include two-dozen pubs owned by LHG, and potentially another eight venues of unknown ownership.
The preliminary agreement of lease will likely be in the hands of authorities for several weeks, but is expected to be passed without incident.
As an ASX-listed company, Woolworths (WOW) is required to lodge announcements with the Australian Stock Exchange, but none are likely to be forthcoming until the deal is approved.