Jefferies thirsty for KKR Australian Venue Co pub group, review in progress

Jefferies’ search is expected to include other global PE funds that may be willing to step into KKR’s shoes and help finance the company’s next stage of growth.

AVC has been a busy buyer under KKR, posting five times the revenue since 2018 and seven times the profit. It operates 211 locations across the country.

Of course, it comes as hoteliers and venue owners recover from a tough few years, fueled by site closures and restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

AVC lost about $100 million in financial years 2021 and 2020 as a result of the pandemic, according to its FY21 accounts filed with the corporate regulator. You still have to file accounts for fiscal year 22.

Since then, pubs have returned to profit and valuations have soared in the sector.

KKR bought an 80 percent stake in the pub group in late June 2017 for around $190 million. Minority investors include the company’s management team and former Spotless Group and Healthscope boss Bruce Dixon.

KKR has hired investment banks to try to go public twice, most recently in the first half of last year. However, that deal, which would have valued AVC at $900 million based on market capitalization, fell through when an outbreak of COVID-19 raised investor concerns about more venue closings.

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