A bidding war is building around the sale of Australian Leisure & Hospitality Group, the pubs and off-licence owner. Foster's sold ALH at A$2.50 (£1) a share in an IPO in November 2003 that raised more than A$800m. The company still holds a 10% stake in the group. ALH owns 130 pubs and a chain of more than 260 off-licences under brands such as The Fridge. It also operates around 6,000 slot machines at its venues. Woolworths was favourite to buy the company, until a bid valuing ALH at A$1.1bn was made by US buyout group, Newbridge Capital. It is anticipated that Woolworths will submit a higher bid. Woolworths is keen to acquire the liquor stores to up its market share in the off-trade, currently at around 23%. Its bid partner, pub operate Bruce Mathieson, is eager to add the pubs to its Victorian pub chain.