Veteran publican hands keys to AG&E
By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier
A Sydney publican and 37-year operator of the Wiley Park Hotel is retiring after selling his venue to Australian Gaming and Entertainment (AG&E), the latest in a surge of pub operators to list on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Third-generation publican Les Young (pictured) is perhaps Sydney’s longest-standing owner operator, but says he is no longer the best person to run his beloved pub.
“The Wiley Park Hotel is ready to be taken to the next level and become a modern gaming and entertainment facility,” he says. “And that's best left to someone with a bit more energy.”
“Hotels are still great, but very different to the kind of businesses we worked day and night to run years ago,” Young added.
“I’ve always loved the hotel industry, but operating in the legislative and compliance environment today is challenging. As is the pace of change.”
The Wiley Park and four other venues formerly owned by Lewis Hotel Group were purchased by AG&E in a deal brokered by Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels national director John Musca.
AG&E has been formed by a team of experienced hotel and casino operators, and is positioning itself as an emerging operator of gaming-focused venues.
CIMB and Wilson HTM are managing the owner operator group’s Initial Public Offering, which aims to raise about $80 million from private and institutional investors.
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