Australian Venues Co has acquired iconic live music venue The Espy in a deal with Sand Hill Road Group.
The sale, for a sum of approximately $75 million as reported by The Australian, will see eight venues incorporated into Australian Venue Co’s portfolio and comes with backing from US global investment firm KKR.
Alongside The Espy, a number of popular pubs were incorporated in the sale including Garden State Hotel, Richmond Club, The Posty, Prahran Hotel, Holliava, The Bridge Hotel and Terminus Hotel.
“We have long admired the work of Sand Hill Road and everything that they have achieved in re-imagining and restoring rundown pubs,” CEO Paul Waterson said in a statement released today.
“It is a privilege to be entrusted with ownership of these beloved Melbourne establishments and to add such an innovative and driven approach to our group.
“We have a long track record of working in partnership with venues steeped in tradition, adding value where we can, while maintaining the local look and feel that customers know and love. We understand that as custodians of these establishments, we have a duty to the local communities that they serve to provide an outstanding customer experience.
“Like us, the Sand Hill Road team have worked closely with local communities as they have operated and refurbished these iconic Melbourne establishments. We look forward to taking on responsibility for maintaining these core values and enhancing their legacy.”
Andy Mullins, co-founder of Sand Hill Road Group, was confident the companies’ shared values would ensure the venues maintained their integrity.
“The boys and I are super proud of what we’ve achieved in Melbourne’s pubs over the last 20 years,” he said.
“We’ve been on a similar journey to Paul and the AVC team – we both started out with just one pub in Melbourne, the backing of our mates and the belief in the importance of the local community pub.
“AVC have a strong track record of operating pubs across the country that maintain their integrity and character, while bringing added value through industry relationships, marketing expertise and a strong team to drive growth whilst staying true to core values.
“We specifically want to thank each and every staff member who’s worked with us over the past twenty years. And finally, but most importantly, we want to thank each and every customer who’s shared a beer and a laugh across our bars.”
Sand Hill Road Group purchased The Espy in 2017 with the venue undergoing extensive renovations and reopening in 2018. It is one of the country’s most iconic live music spaces.
Australian Venue Co currently run Melbourne venues including The Provincial and Perseverance in Fitzroy, The Park in Albert Park, O’Connell’s Hotel in South Melbourne, Middle Park Hotel, Imperial South Yarra and more. The company signed a ten-year deal for The Sarah Sands Hotel in October last year.