Hi-Fi Bar collapses into voluntary administration

Hi-Fi Bar collapses into voluntary administration

International act Foo Fighters are among those to have played at the Hi-Fi Bar

Three popular live music venues in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney are for sale, after collapsing into voluntary administration late last week.

The Hi-Fi Bar chain is owned by former Carlton Blues footballer Luke O’Sullivan and has hosted the likes of homegrown bands Hunters and Collectors, Eskimo Joe and The Cat Empire, and international drawcards No Doubt, the Foo Fighters and Public Enemy.

But Simon Nelson of Romanis Cant was appointed as administrator of each of the three venues on February 12 after a dispute with a major creditor “could not be resolved”.

“The creditor as a result put the business into voluntary administration,” the Hi-Fi group said in a statement last week.

“However, it’s business as usual in all three venues.”

The Melbourne Hi-Fi Bar was been operating since 1997, while the Brisbane venue opened in 2009. A Sydney venue followed in 2012.

Administrator Simon Nelson told Fairfaxa new owner will be sought for the business.

“All three venues will continue to trade under my control with the support of key employees, industry stakeholders, landlords and other stakeholders,” Nelson said.

“We expect to achieve a sale of the business as a going concern in the next four weeks.”

Nelson said while he cannot guarantee a sale, he is “highly confident” a new owner will be found.

“If not, it will be closed down,” he said.

While the Hi-Fi group’s financial difficulties have been attributed to a dispute with a single creditor, live performance venues across Australia have experienced revenue fluctuations in recent years

In 2013, Live Performance Australia’s annual report found revenue for live performance venues was down 8% in 2012, as flat economic conditions resulted in less discretionary spending for patrons.

In 2011, the Australian live entertainment industry recorded revenues of $1.3 billion, but this had dropped to $1.2 billion in 2012. Ticket sales for the same period had dropped by 6.2%.

But according to the 2013 annual report, revenue for the sector jumped back to $1.478 billion, an increase of 22.7% from the year before, while ticket sales jumped by 10.2% off the back of improved consumer confidence.

The first meeting of Hi-Fi Bar creditors will be held in Melbourne on February 24.

SmartCompany contacted the Hi-Fi group and Romanis Cant but did not receive a response prior to publication.

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