Pubboy entrepreneur Mark Alexander-Erber is selling up his 12 pubs and hotels in NSW and going to Paris for a long holiday.
“It’s time. I’m so tired. There comes a time when you start to question where you are going. And I broke up with [my wife] Jade again last year.”
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Alexander-Erber, whose fortune was valued at $20 million by BRW’s Young Rich list in September last year, will sell the pubs but keep his Pubboy brand.
One of his companies, formerly known as Pubboy Pty Ltd, has gone into liquidation and Ferrier Hodgson has been appointed by BankWest. But Alexander-Erber denies that the pubs are for sale because he needs the cash.
“I needed to close it. I had a whole lot of companies. That was my decision. It was a matter of housekeeping.”
Last April, Alexander-Erber told SmartCompany his revenue was $20 to $30 million, and he aimed to get it to $60 million by the time he floated in 18 months’ time.
What happened? “I was on track to a certain extent. But because it was such a tough year with fire in one of our hotels and floods in Newcastle, our revenue stayed where it was.”
His investor, Betty Saunders-Klimenko, (daughter of the late John Saunders – co-owner of the Westfield Shopping centre with Frank Lowy), is also selling her interests in the pubs.
He made the decision to sell in the last couple of weeks. “This year the industry will change with new laws in NSW on pokies and licensing. I personally think that all guys getting burnt on the sharemarket will be looking for cash business, and so it’s a good time to sell.”
In answer to the question whether there has been much interest in the pubs, he says: “My phone is running hot.”
Alexander-Erber has said he is looking for “$30 million-plus” for the pubs, which include the Aberdale Hotel in Weston, the Belmore Hotel in Scone and the CBD Hotel in Newcastle.
His strategy has been to target inner-city venues for brand recognition and regional pubs for the higher yields.
He’s keeping the Pubboy brand because he hasn’t abandoned his plans to expand the merchandise business into T-shirts and jumpers and lifestyle products, and he’s in the process of starring in a reality TV program about his business that he says will be screened by Foxtel later this year.
He is also in discussions about bringing an Asian chain to Australia.
Alexander-Erber has never shunned the limelight. In 2005, he first split with his wife Jade and hooked up with Amber Petty, who was a bridesmaid for Princess Mary of Denmark. It sent the media into a frenzy.
To read Mark Alexander-Erber’s story go here: My Life, My Way, My Pubs