Advent and Catalyst sell Taverner

Trade buyers have beaten off competition from private equity firms to acquire the Australian pub and poker machine operator.

Australian private equity firms Advent Management and Catalyst Investment Managers, along with the management team and two unnamed private investors, have sold pub operator Taverner Hotel Group for A$380 million (€238 million; $288 million), according to a report.

Sydney-based retail giant Woolworths and Melbourne-based hotelier Bruce Mathieson outbid private equity firms Carlyle Group and Deutsche Bank-owned private equity fund DB Capital Partners to acquire Taverner, said a report in The Australian. New Zealand casino operator Sky City Entertainment was also believed to have made a bid for the group.

The acquisition was made through Woolworths and Mathieson’s acquisition vehicle, Bruandwo, which was formed last year to buy hotel chain Australian Leisure and Hospitality.

Advent Management initially invested in Taverner in 2000, while Catalyst, a subsidiary of PPM Capital – the private equity arm of UK insurer Prudential – invested in 2001. Press reports put Catalyst’s interest in Taverner prior to the sale at 55 percent, and Advent around 20 percent.

Taverner Hotel Group operates 33 pubs in the states of Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia, as well as over 2,100 electronic gaming machines.

According to PPM Ventures, Catalyst closed its fourth buyout fund in January 2000, raising A$180 million.