By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier 

Former C-Inc general manager Steven Speed has joined with prominent pub industry figure Peter Walker to acquire the Sydney hotel that claims to have Australia's oldest liquor licence.

Speed and Walker – who is a former partner of, now consultant to Ferrier Hodgson – have formed WDS Hotels with plans of developing a pub portfolio.  

They completed their first acquisition of The Fortune of War Hotel after successfully completing stringent financial and character assessments required by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA).

The Fortune of War Hotel includes The Russell Hotel and The Russell Wine Bar. It is the first ownership venture for Speed, fresh from managing C-Inc's Coogee Bay Hotel, while Walker has owned "a number of other venues over the past 20 years".

Walker told TheShout the partnership will be looking at a number of acquisitions over the next 12 months, and the pair feels they took the reins at The Fortune at the perfect time.

"We began trading on the first of July and it's a good time… the poms are back in Sydney for the Lions and The Rocks is going berserk!" said Walker. 

The outgoing vendors were Robert Dick, Kevin Ashley and celebrated police officer and former Newtown Jets first-grader Bob Keyes, who decided to call 'last drinks' after operating the hotels for several decades. 

Complicating the sale was the need for a stamp of approval from SHFA, which agent Andrew Jolliffe of Ray White Hotels said mandated that the incoming tenant must be of a high quality.

For pubs currently on the market, check TheShout’s new Pub Sales page.

The Shout Team

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

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