Corrs Chambers Westgarth has been acting for Foster’s Group Limited on the sale of its leisure and hospitality division, Australian Leisure & Hospitality Group Limited (ALH), which is being sold to the public by IPO. ALH is Australia’s largest pub operator, the largest pub operator of electronic gaming machines, and the third-largest off-premise liquor retailer. It also owns famous pubs such as Young & Jackson’s in Melbourne and The Breakfast Creek Hotel in Brisbane.
The float will be the second largest in Australia this year (after Promina), raising approximately $1.4 billion. The float is also significant because ALH is splitting into an operating company (ALH) that will operate the existing pubs and off-premise bottle shops, and a property trust (ALE Property Group) that will own the freehold assets, both of which are being floated at the same time. The prospectus for ALH was lodged on 19 September 2003. The prospectus for ALE was lodged on 26 September 2003. It is expected that shares in ALH will commence trading on the ASX in early November 2003.
Freehills acted for John Fairfax in relation to its friendly takeover of Melbourne publisher Text Media. This was the first takeover bid undertaken by Fairfax and is valued at $64.7 million. The Freehills lawyers involved were corporate partners Braddon Jolley and Rebecca Maslen-Stannage and solicitors Nicola Yeomans and Gregory Jackson together with Sydney competition law partner Michael Gray.