Receivers commence sale campaign for 17 restaurants and bars in Keystone Group; more than 120 interested parties

Receivers Ferrier Hodgson have received expressions of interest from more than 120 parties interested in buying the Keystone Group of bars and restaurants, or individual venues and properties within the group.

Today marks the start of a sale campaign for the group, which collapsed into receivership at the end of June. In a statement issued this afternoon, receivers Morgan Kelly and Ryan Eagle said CBRE has been appointed as lead sales adviser for the group’s assets and a national advertising campaign will follow.

The Keystone Hospitality Group was founded in 2000 and operates six restaurants under the Jamie’s Italian brand, which was founded by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. The venues are located in Sydney, Perth, Canberra, Brisbane and Adelaide.

The group also operates Cargo Bar and Bungalow 8 in Sydney, Chophouse in Sydney and Perth, and Kinglseys in Brisbane and Woolloomooloo. Also included in the receivership appointment are Sydney venues Gazebo, Manly Wine, Sugarmill Hotel, The Rook and The Winery.

All 17 venues are continuing to trade through the receivership process and Kelly said in the statement the venues will be offered for sale as going concerns.

While the receivers said they have received expressions of interest for a recapitalisation of the whole group of 17 venues, as well as interest in individual venues and properties, the Jamie’s Italian venues will be grouped together and offered to buyers as a “nationally integrated restaurant brand”.

“The Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and Parramatta Jamie’s Italian restaurants are some of the best performing Jamie’s Italian restaurants globally and offer a very attractive opportunity for the right partner,” Kelly said.

“We will continue to work closely with the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group with a view to identifying a new partner for their business in Australia. This may be part of a whole of enterprise sale or as a separate portfolio.”.

Following a process that will involve creating a shortlist of interested buyers, Ferrier Hodgson will call for formal expressions of interest by September, with a view to completing a sale by the end of that month.

“We are seeking a result before the commencement of the busy summer trade,” Kelly said.

The Keystone Group currently employs 1200 employees, including part-time employees and casuals.

In November 2014, the Keystone Group was operating 25 venues and turning over between $140-160 million. However, the appointment of receivers applies to 17 venues, with the group previously selling a number of other venues, including the Newtown Hotel.

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