THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has raised competition concerns if the Rye Hotel is bought by the Endeavour Group, which also owns liquor retailers BWS and Dan Murphy’s.
The Rye Hotel includes a hotel and adjoining independent drive-through liquor store operating under the Thirsty Camel brand. Endeavour operates BWS Rye, the other major liquor store in the area.
The ACCC is concerned that the proposed acquisition would likely substantially lessen competition in the supply of takeaway liquor in the Rye area.
It is believed that in July Endeavour agreed to pay long-time owner Peter Houghton around $50 million for the large property, which is across the road from the beach on Point Nepean Road.
“The BWS Rye and the Rye Hotel Thirsty Camel are the two largest liquor stores in the local area with a comparable size and product range, and are likely to be each other’s strongest competitors,” ACCC commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.
“We are concerned about this acquisition resulting in a substantial increase in Endeavour’s market share in the local Rye area.
“Both local residents and holiday makers in the local area around the Rye Hotel benefit from competition between liquor stores. This competition helps ensure different product ranges, promotions and service levels continue to be available.”
The ACCC is also considering the impact of the proposed acquisition on the competitiveness of other stores that operate under the Thirsty Camel banner and on the wholesale market for the supply of liquor.
The statement of issues can be found on the ACCC’s public register at accc.gov.au/public-registers/mergers-registers/public-informal-merger-reviews/endeavour-group-rye-hotel
The ACCC is urging residents and holiday makers to complete a consumer survey by 6 October, before a decision is made on whether to oppose the sale.
The survey can be found at consultation.accc.gov.au/accc/endeavour-rye-hotel
Endeavour is a major Australian alcoholic drinks retailer and hotel operator with brands including BWS, Dan Murphy’s, Jimmy Brings, Shorty’s Liquor and Langton’s.
Endeavour also manages more than 330 licensed hotels across Australia, through its subsidiary, ALH Hotels. BWS Rye is about 900 metres from the Rye Hotel and is adjacent to Woolworths.
The Rye Hotel houses on-premises food and beverage areas, including function rooms, live entertainment, TAB and gaming facilities, a drive-through bottle shop and beachfront accommodation.
Peninsula Cellars, trading under the Thirsty Camel brand, is also owned by the vendor but does not form part of the proposed acquisition.