Melbourne chef and restaurateur Shannon Bennett has sold a majority stake of his burgeoning restaurant business to Singapore real estate moguls for about $15 million.
The deal was signed in secrecy more than a month ago. Moreover, it comes only a week after another Australian food boss, Neil Perry, sold his restaurants Rockpool, Rosetta and Spice Temple to hospitality giant UPG in another multi-million dollar deal.
The new investors in Bennett’s Vue Group – billionaire brothers Philip and Robert Ng – now own 65 per cent of the business, the Australian’s John Lethlean reports. The Ng’s company, Golden Development Private Limited, is part of a larger property business based in Singapore. The deal means Bennett now owns just 35 per cent of the hospitality kingdom he built over 16 years.
Bennett will be a culinary ambassador to the Vue Group going forward, though it is not clear exactly what that means or how he will be involved in the restaurants.
The deal also includes Bennett’s two-year-old Burnham Beeches project in the Dandenong Ranges, which he had hoped to turn into a luxury hotel and gastronomic destination.
Various documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (about changes to Vue Group’s share structure, share holdings and parent company) suggest the deal was hammered out between 8 and 26 of September.
The group has plans to expand to Asia and the US, with an L.A smokehouse reportedly already in the works.