Clayton Utz advised Woolworths on the recent acquisition of Victorian pub owner Taverner for $380 million. Taverner owns 33 hotels in NSW, Victoria and South Australia, with annual sales worth about $200 million.
The purchase, which was a blow to Coles Myer in the quest for domination of Australia’s retail liquor market, was made through Woolworth’s joint venture hotel and gaming vehicle Bruandwo Pty Ltd. Woolworths owns 75 per cent of Bruandwo, with the other 25 per cent owned by the Bruce Mathieson Group.
The deal is expected to be completed later this year, subject to normal commercial conditions. M&A partner John Elliott led Clayton Utz’s large cross-disciplinary team pm the deal, including partner Tony Rein who advised on gaming issues, which worked on the deal. The firm’s role included conducting an extensive due diligence review of the Taverner Hotels business and negotiating the Share Sale Agreement.
Woolworths outbid a number of potential buyers to make the acquisition, including SkyCity Entertainment and several private equity firms. Woolworths CEO Roger Corbett said the deal was “a strategically complementary acquisition for Bruandwo , following its acquisition of the [Australian Leisure and Hospitality] Group”. He told The Sydney Morning Herald that he would not rule out further acquisitions in the liquor market and might look to buy a “pub here and there” in parts of NSW and Western Australia where Woolworths didn’t have a presence.