Oak View Group (OVG) has officially announced its acquisition of Rhubarb Hospitality Collection. By acquiring Rhubarb from LGT Private Debt, OVG aims to enhance and elevate the guest experience at Rhubarb venues across the globe.
Led by Chief Executive P.B. Jacobse, the existing management team of Rhubarb will play a crucial role in OVG's plans to revolutionize the food and beverage experience at arenas, stadiums, and live entertainment venues worldwide.
In the UK, OVG, with the support of Rhubarb, will oversee the operation of Co-op Live, the largest arena in the UK currently under development in Manchester in partnership with City Football Group. Rhubarb's expertise will contribute to Co-op Live's sustainability efforts and commitment to local sourcing.
Rhubarb Hospitality Collection has established itself as a leader in the industry for over 25 years, boasting iconic venues in London, New York, and Berlin. With an impressive forecasted revenue in the nine-figure range for 2023, Rhubarb's team of 2,000 professionals caters to over 5 million people annually. Their portfolio includes renowned venues such as Peak in New York (a restaurant, bar, and event space on the 101st floor of 30 Hudson Yards), the Royal Albert Hall, Ascot Racecourse, Sky Garden, and 22 Bishopsgate.
This acquisition aligns with OVG's expansion strategy, building upon their recent acquisition 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.”
Rhubarb's events division remains dedicated to providing tailored solutions for a wide range of clients, from large charity galas to intimate dinners. They are the preferred food partner for over 70 premium venues and visitor attractions in London, including the Historic Royal Palaces, the Natural History Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Old Billingsgate.
The transaction was led by Keegan McDonald, Michael Moschella, and Joe Donohue from OVG's business development team, while Rhubarb's management team was led by CEO P.B. Jacobse and CFO Laraine Beament. Financial advisory support for OVG came from Goldman Sachs & Co., with legal advice provided by Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Houlihan Lokey acted as financial advisor, and Eversheds Sunderland as legal advisor for Rhubarb in the transaction.
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.”