By Andrew Starke
Woolworths is the latest major company to be linked to National Leisure and Gaming (NLG) with the giant retailer likely to battle with Tabcorp for the acquisition of the listed pub operator’s pubs and poker machines.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, sources close to the deal believe Woolworths is considering an offer for NLG just weeks after gambling group Tabcorp was revealed to be interested.
NLG operates more than 900 poker machines at 31 pubs in NSW and Queensland, with the NSW pubs likely to be of particular interest to Woolworths.
However, Woolworth’s senior management were left in no doubt as to the feelings of a small but vocal minority of its shareholders who used the group’s recent AGM as a platform to voice their opposition Woolworth’s poker machine operations.
The company presently owns about 11,000 poker machines in 280 pubs and clubs run by subsidiary Australian Leisure and Hospitality (ALH), which Woolworths acquired in 2004.
Woolworths’ chairman, James Strong and CEO Michael Luscombe made it clear at the same AGM that Woolworths was committed to its pub operations and had no intention of reducing its ownership of electronic gaming machines.
NLG shares stood at 3 cents at 3pm today (Dec 9), up from 2.9 cents seven days ago.