The iconic Bondi Icebergs Dining Room and Bar has been sold to the O’Brien Group, Australia’s largest privately owned hospitality, entertainment and leisure company.
Owned by entrepreneur and advertising identity John Singleton for more than a decade, the popular asset was aggressively pursued by a number of highly successful hospitality operators after Ray White Hotels launched a highly publicised international marketing campaign late last year.
“O’Brien Group Australia is delighted to add Icebergs to our existing international venue portfolio that we have carefully and proudly collated over the past 25 years,” executive director Michael O’Brien says.
“We have a strong suite of well-known hospitality venues situated in Australia and New Zealand, and we’re both very pleased and confident Icebergs wholly complements our group.”
Ray White Asia Pacific director Andrew Jolliffe says the sale of Icebergs follows significant local and international interest.
“When you think about Australian icons, whether from a domestic or international frame of reference, Bondi’s beachfront is arguably only surpassed by Sydney’s Harbour and Uluru,” Mr Jolliffe says.
“Hence when looking at the Icebergs opportunity through that lens, it is consequently unsurprising that the band width of interest was so great.”
The sale of Icebergs is the latest in a series of deals across prime coastal hotel locations in the past few years. The Collaroy Hotel, Clovelly Hotel and Patonga Beach Hotel all have changed hands in the past 12 months.
Mr Jolliffe says Mr Singleton tasked him with the responsibility “to extract a favourable exit event” on his behalf.
“However, what was also made clear to us was that the objective of our engagement was not only a matter of price point for John, because also important to him was the suitability of the successful purchaser,” he says.
“John patently saw himself as the custodian of an Australian icon over the course of his ownership, and we are very pleased that the successful purchasers are people of significant credibility and long-standing hospitality business ownership in respect of iconic Australian venues.
Mr Jolliffe says the marketing focus was on the geographical and historical importance of Icebergs and its position in the beach and hospitality cultures of modern Australia.
“This nationalistic connection was never more boldly illustrated than by virtue of the fact that whilst half the total asset sale inquiries originated from significant overseas parties, four of the top five bids were from parties domiciled in Australian,” he says.
Mr Jolliffe would not be drawn upon the sale price, other than to confirm the new owners paid a sum consistent with the market guidance provided.