COL) punts pubs and pokies in $200m joint venture deal

Supermarket giant Coles has offloaded its hotel and pokies business in a complicated deal that allows it to skirt unique Queensland licensing laws and hold on to its lucrative bottle shops in the state.

Coles has been trying to sell its Spirits Hotel business for about a year, with the retailer’s previous owner, Wesfarmers, expressing disquiet about owning the 300-or-so poker machines that sit inside the group’s 87 hotels.

Coles will enter a deal that will see it relinquish control of its pubs.Credit:Peter Braig

On Monday, Coles said it had reached a deal with Australian Venue Co, owned by private equity firm KKR and pub titan Bruce Dixon, that will net it about $200 million.

Seventy-six of Spirit’s hotels are in Queensland, where licensing laws mean bottle shop owners must also own a pub nearby – a key sticking point as Coles owns 243 Liquorland, First Choice, and Vintage Cellars bottle shops in the state.


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