The government thought it was a done deal. This spring, 35 liquor store licenses were auctioned to the highest bidder. Now, a number of deals have fallen through.
“Ten of the thirty five successful bidders have decided not to proceed with the permitting process,” David Morris, a spokesperson for Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming (SLGA) told CTV News.
Some of the licenses may have sold for as much as $1.5 million apiece.
The government doesn’t know why some buyers are having a change of heart.
“You know, I can’t speak to what those reasons might be but it has happened before,” Morris added.
Deals that fell through include two in Saskatoon and licenses in Regina, Moose Jaw, Yorkton, Estevan, Humboldt, Assiniboia, Moosomin and Esterhazy.
“Successful bidders that have decided not to proceed with the permitting process will forfeit their deposit that they would have paid to the auction house,” Morris explained.
Each buyer will forfeit a $5,000 deposit.
The NDP Opposition was opposed to closure of government liquor stores.
SLGA critic Nathaniel Teed says he would like to know what happened.
“I’ve been a little bit concerned over the auction method from the start,” Teed said.
“Now the process has been stymied even longer and I think it really comes back to how this privatization has just been a mess from the start.”
The government will hold another auction at the end of the month for liquor licenses that are again available.
Successful bidders who walked away the first time will not be allowed to bid on the same location.