By Andrew Starke

National Leisure and Gaming (NLG) has ’20 to 30 days’ to decide whether it wishes to acquire three Sydney pubs but industry insiders believe the group will bid for and acquire all 32 pub freeholds offered by the listed Hedley Leisure and Gaming Property Fund (HLG).

TheShout understands that NLG is currently assessing a number of possibilities including raising equity for a buy-out and strategic partnerships with third parties.

However NLG would need to clear any such bid with its own lender, the Bank of New Zealand Australia.

While NLG managing director, Andrew Jolliffe, would not comment on the specifics of the pubs involved or whether the group was in discussion with industry backers, he conceded that the ‘clock is ticking’.

The three pubs in question are the Canterbury Hotel and Lidcombe Hotel in Sydney’s west, and the Bridgeview Hotel in Willoughby.

"NLG is both actively and very deliberately assessing its option to buy HLG freeholds it is a party to, by virtue of its first right in respect of these proposed asset sales; and accordingly, NLG enjoys an applicable time frame in which to carefully consider its options," said Jolliffe.

He added that the benefits of reuniting the freehold and leasehold assets was clear and that NLG had considered this course of action for some time.

"It is of no material surprise to me that significant interest in NLG leased HLG freehold assets exists, given our exemplary track record in respect of meeting tenancy commitments; our patent domination of the recent Top 200 NSW June Quarter gaming rankings, and our independent nomination as Australia’s best hotel operator at the upcoming ALIA awards," said Jolliffe.

The Shout Team

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

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