Iconic gay venue the Midnight Shift has officially changed hands with owner Tim Berry accepting an offer for the business from landlords Arunta Investments.

“Arunta decided the day the case was to go before court that they would settle the matter outside of court,” Berry’s partner Clarence Cruz told Sydney Star Observer.

Cruz said it had been difficult for Berry to accept the offer considering the near two decades he had put into the Midnight Shift.

“Tim owned the business for over 15 years so it was a very hard decision to have to make. It took him until five o’clock this afternoon to make the decision,” Cruz said yesterday.

Cruz said when making the decision they took into account that even if they had won the case, they would have been left dealing with Arunta as their landlords for potentially the next 13 years.

“Weighing the pros and cons of that, Tim decided that it was probably time that [Arunta executive director] Mark Madar gets the place and experiences for himself what it takes to run a pub.”

Cruz said Berry was planning to take it easy for the next year, concentrating his time on his cattle farm, before deciding what the future holds.

Arunta Investments bought the building housing the venue in 2008, leasing it back to the Midnight Shift’s trading company, Bluejoy Pty Ltd.

Arunta took control of the business on July 3 this year  on the grounds that outgoings due on June 30 had not been paid. Cruz and Berry were out of the country at the time.

In a court case scheduled for this week, lawyers for Berry were to argue that Arunta had taken control of the venue without the proper notice period.

Arunta Investments is expected to issue a statement about its acquisition of the venue this week but previously stressed to Sydney Star Observer that it had “absolutely no plans to change the Shift from being a gay and lesbian establishment” and that the business would continue as usual under its ownership.

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