Lantern Hotel Group has divested one of its best city assets to a colourful A-lister of Sydney hospitality.

In October the ASX-listed Lantern (LTN) announced a portfolio reshuffle, selling three pubs as part of its “strategic review of the business”, including the coveted Dolphin Hotel at Surry Hills.

Dolphin Hotel, Surry Hills
Dolphin Hotel, Surry Hills

“In terms of the Dolphin Hotel, we are of the considered view that we are already heavily represented in the Surry Hills area with our other investment in The Crown Hotel at the other end of the suburb, and as such feel it appropriate to rationalise our position by testing the market for the Dolphin Hotel in a market that is recognising value in well-positioned multi-revenue based city fringe hotel operations.”

An ASX announcement today revealed the $11.15 million sale price was a premium to the 30 June book value, and made mention of the public campaign.

“An extensive and rigorous sale process led to a very strong interest in the Dolphin Hotel and we are delighted with the outcome,” said chairman John Murphy and CEO John Osborne.

The international campaign was conducted by Ray White Asia-Pacific director, Andrew Jolliffe, who was recently awarded the title of #1 Agent amongst the company’s 1,000 offices globally.

“In the case of the Dolphin Hotel, our client required us to facilitate a very public, specifically wide-reaching campaign, and the depth and quality of the 65 genuine enquiries received throughout the sale process is testament to both the compelling opportunity the acquisition patently presents, as well as the effectiveness of a national electronic and print media campaign in terms of garnering interest,” said Jolliffe.

PubTIC has learned entrepreneurial local hotelier Deke Miskin is the new owner.

Miskin and partners purchased Surry Hills’ large format Macquarie Hotel in 2012 from Doctor Jerry Schwartz, rebranding it as Hotel Harry. He is also believed to own interests in nearby eastern suburbs operations Icebergs and Easy Tiger.

Rising to success through a series of magazine titles and successful publishing businesses, Miskin last year sold his Point Piper mansion Altona for a cool $52 million, after holding out for years in the wake of the GFC.

PubTIC contacted Miskin in the hope of hints on plans for the Dolphin, but did not receive a reply in time for publication.

The Dolphin is the latest in a tsunami of A-grade Sydney pub assets that have transacted this year, with Jolliffe personally responsible a several – including Waugh’s PHMG purchasing the Four in Hand late last week for around $8 million.

Jolliffe suggests 2016 is shaping up for more of the same.

“The fundamentals remain so positive. Legislative headwinds are comparatively benign, consumer sentiment is high, debt both cheap and liquid, and the depressed Australian dollar is stimulating inbound visitation rates for our capital cities and tourism precincts across the country.

“When all distilled, there’s little surprise we have a weight of equity and management ability chasing what, in reality, is a disproportionately small number of A-grade investment properties.”

Dolphin courtyard. Image: website
Dolphin courtyard. Image: website
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