Watchdog puts hotel sale on hold

WOOLWORTHS hopes of buying the Caringbah Hotel from the Bayfield family have been put on hold by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The Caringbah venue was part of a plan by Woolworths to purchase several hotels and bottle shops under its joint venture with the Australian Leisure and Hospitality (ALH) earlier this year.

The competition watchdog will examine whether the deal will lessen competition among players within the market.

Woolworths purchased the ALH group, which already own 294 hotels and 460 bottle shops nationwide, in late 2004.

An ALH spokeswoman said they expected to hear a decision about the sale by the end of the week.

Group marketing manager for Bayfield Hotels, Cameron Bayfield, declined to comment.

The sale is estimated to be about $45 million.

Selling agent Andrew Jolliffe of Ray White Hotels Australia told the Sydney Morning Herald that the off-market sale reflected the continued demand for high-quality assets.

St George and Sutherland Shire Leader.