By Denis Sheehan MIH
Oak View Group has today announced the acquisition of Rhubarb Hospitality Collection. The purchase of the hospitality group from LGT Private Debt aims to elevate guest experience at Rhubarb venues around the world.
In addition to Rhubarb’s own growth plan, the current management team, led by Chief Executive P.B. Jacobse, will help drive forward OVG’s plans to transform the food and beverage experience at arenas, stadiums, and live entertainment venues across the UK and around the world.
In the UK, Oak View Group, with the support of Rhubarb, will operate Co-op Live, the UK’s largest arena which is currently being developed in Manchester by OVG in partnership with City Football Group. Rhubarb will help deliver Co-op Live’s commitments to sustainability and local sourcing.
Rhubarb Hospitality Collection has built a reputation for excellence over more than 25 years, with iconic venues across London, New York, and Berlin.
Rhubarb is forecasted to deliver nine-figure revenues in 2023 and its team of 2,000 caters for well over 5 million people every year at venues including Peak in New York, the restaurant, bar, and event space on the 101st floor of 30 Hudson Yards as well as the Royal Albert Hall, Ascot Racecourse, Sky Garden, 22 Bishopsgate, and others.
The deal continues the growth OVG has experienced with recent acquisitions of Bovingdons Catering.
Tim Leiweke, Chairman and CEO, Oak View Group, said: “This acquisition, along with other companies we acquired over the last two years, gives us a platform that we think rivals or is better than any other food and beverage company out there. We feel strongly about this because we are facility owners and operators, and we see food and beverage differently than people who are simply just third-party vendors.
“If you look at the arenas we own and operate and you look at our upcoming ventures, like Co-op Live, by adding Rhubarb we think we are now best-in-class on premium experience and hospitality and that is in large part because of our knowledge and experiences as arena owners and operators, not just food and beverage vendors. We’ve always believed that fans deserve the very best, from their experience getting to and from an arena to the best possible presentation of the show they’ve chosen to see, to the food and drink they buy. It has been clear from our first meeting that the Rhubarb team shares both our vision to elevate the fan experience, as well as our focus on quality, sustainability, and the importance of a great company culture. Rhubarb and OVG are the perfect partners to design and deliver the world’s best hospitality at venues around the world.”
Pieter-Bas Jacobse, Chief Executive of Rhubarb Hospitality Group, said: “This is an incredibly meaningful partnership for Rhubarb, and we are thrilled to partner with OVG. We have known the team for many years, they understand our business model, and we all see best-in-class hospitality as essential to the value proposition between venues and their fans. Together, we are determined to redefine what it means to deliver a truly exceptional and unforgettable experience in our industry.”
Chris Granger, president of OVG360 and Ken Gaber, president of OVG Hospitality jointly commented, “Adding RHC to the OVG Hospitality family and portfolio creates a service offering that is wholly unique within our industry and we look forward to expanding their client roster across existing third-party clients, existing OVG owned operated and facilities, and new clients that join the OVG family in the future.”
The Rhubarb events division continues to focus on bespoke solutions for a broad range of clients, from high profile charity galas for 2,000 guests, to small, intimate dinners in country venues. They are the preferred food partner for more than 70 premium venues and visitor attractions across London including the Historic Royal Palaces, the Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, and Old Billingsgate.
The execution of the transaction for OVG was led by Keegan McDonald, vice president of business development, Michael Moschella, vice president of business development, and Joe Donohue, senior associate of business development. The management team for RHC was led by chief executive officer P.B. Jacobse and chief financial officer Laraine Beament. Goldman Sachs & Co. acted as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal advisor to OVG. Houlihan Lokey acted as financial advisor and Eversheds Sunderland acted as legal advisor to Rhubarb.
Jonathan Smith, Managing Director, LGT Private Debt said. “It’s been a pleasure to support the RHC management team since 2016 and we are delighted to see them transition to being part of OVG. We wish OVG and management the best in the next phase of RHC’s development.”