Dixon Hospitality Group poised to buy Keystone portfolioDixon Hospitality Group, led by Michael Dixon, the son of former Spotless chief Bruce Dixon (pictured), has been fattening its portfolio over the last year. Photo: Josh Robenstone

Dixon Hospitality Group poised to buy Keystone portfolio

Sarah Thompson, Anthony MacDonald, Joyce Moullakis

Bruce Dixon’s Dixon Hospitality Group has emerged as preferred bidder for the bulk of the assets in the Keystone Hospitality Group, Street Talk can reveal.

Final negotiations will be held this week, but it is understood Dixon has trumped other bidders for several of Keystone’s key assets as it attempts to build scale ahead of a $300 million-plus initial public offering in 2017.

Keystone Hospitality, which collapsed in June after failing to renegotiate lending arrangements with financiers KKR and Olympus Capital, owns 17 restaurants, cafes and bars including the six-strong Jamie’s Italian chain as well as Bungalow 8, Cargo Bar, Chophouse Perth, Chophouse Sydney, Gazebo, Kingsleys Brisbane and Kingsleys Woolloomooloo.

Dixon Hospitality Group, led by Michael Dixon, the son of former Spotless chief Bruce Dixon, has been fattening its portfolio over the last year. It acquired 16 venues from the Open Door Pub Company and nine from the Melbourne Venue Company in 2015, and three inner city Sydney pubs from the Drinkndine group earlier this year before outlaying $31 million for the Beer DeLuxe Group in August.

It now owns almost 40 pubs, hotels and restaurants, including 505 Wine Room in Toorak, the College Lawn Hotel in Prahran, the Imperial Hotel in Bourke St Melbourne, Tap House at Sydney Airport and the Oxford Tavern in Sydney’s Petersham.

Unsurprisingly, the fast-growing hospitality operator has attracted interest from some high-profile investors, including a fund connected with gaming billionaire James Packer and Collingwood president Eddie McGuire.

Dixon Hospitality Group differs from other pubs and clubs groups such as Woolworths’ and the Mathieson family’s ALH because it focuses on food and beverages rather than gaming. This may make its upcoming IPO more attractive to investors worried about the reputational risks associated with owning poker machines .

Elsewhere, the float of Brisbane-based electrical switches manufacturer and exporter NOJA Power has been pushed into 2017.

Sources told Street Talk the listing was held up by the timing of a string of new contracts which will see the company target a first-half initial public offering.

NOJA researches, develops, makes and supplies low and medium voltage electrical switchgear. It was among companies that presented at a Morgans investor conference last week and also led about 70 fund managers on a site visit of its local facilities.

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