Jim Knox has acquired Amaroo Tavern – the only Moree hotel he didn’t own.
The freehold going concern is speculated to be costing about $9 million from the Waratah Hotel Group, which held it since 2006.
The purchase comes four days since we reported the publican paid Sally Mishell and Gina Benson $12m for three more venues in the area – the Post Office Hotel, Victoria Hotel and Moree Hotel.
In August Mr Knox outlaid $7m for the Royal Hotel Moree.
The acquisitions give the hotelier control of the town’s 63 electronic gambling machines and three bottle shops.
All five sales were brokered by HTL Property.
About 400 kilometres west of Coffs Harbour, Moree, with a population of c7500, is marketed as “Australia’s artesian spa capital”.
Mr Knox will hold Amaroo Tavern in a newly formed partnership with Patrick Gurr (story continues below).
On a hectare, the venue includes a bistro, drive-thru bottle shop and gaming room with 18 EGMs.
With a 4am liquor license, it generates $6m in annual revenue.
“Attracting quality management and operational personnel is a major issue in these regional localities, however given the scale and quality of the portfolio we have aggregated, we look forward to working with the existing team and attracting some top quality and complementary talent to lift the overall offering at each of the respective venues,” Mr Knox said.
“The scale of this portfolio affords us the ability to do that,” according to the businessman.
Waratah fund manager Darren Baker added “the asset was sold at a premium to book value and its divestment represents good business sense for Waratah unit holders”.
HTL Property’s Xavier Plunkett, who sold Amaroo Tavern with Sam Handy, said “operational and management synergies, complementary business models, a familiarity with the local market and a deep entrenchment within the local community, will benefit these hotels and the patrons of Moree who will ultimately enjoy them”.
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