>The inn crowd hungry to buy hotels

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>A former airline CEO with a liking for expensive red wines.
A reclusive family patriarch of a pub empire. A former rugby league high-flyer, two glitzy upstarts who lord over Sydney’s premier nightspots, and a company better known for selling tinned beetroot.
With major banks set to call last drinks on a multitude of struggling pubs and beleaguered corporations, a queue of cashed-up buyers is waiting to pick up the scraps and expand their pub empires.
Paddy Coughlan, who heads up a consortium bankrolled by John Singleton and investment banker Mark Carnegie, said 2011 would be the best time to buy pubs in decades, with many licence holders to hit the wall.
His Singo-styled consortium has already snapped up four pubs – Darlinghurst bar Kinselas, the Peakhurst Inn, Paddington’s Bellevue Hotel and Manly’s Steyne – with former Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon and retail maestro Gerry Harvey chipping in for the latter two.

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