OVG bolsters hospitality offering with RHC acquisition

Featured image credit: Oak View Group

Venue development, advisory and investment company Oak View Group has today (Thursday) announced the acquisition of London-based high-end hospitality provider Rhubarb Hospitality Collection (RHC).

OVG said the deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, marks one of the most significant catering industry transactions in decades. OVG has purchased RHC from LGT Private Debt, with the acquisition designed to elevate the fan experience at venues around the world.

RHC’s 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 in the UK and around the world.

RHC will support OVG in the operation of Co-op Live (pictured), a new 23,500-capacity arena that is scheduled to open in the English city of Manchester later this year. RHC will help deliver on sustainability and local sourcing commitments for the arena, which OVG is developing in partnership with City Football Group.

Sports venues in RHC’s portfolio include Ascot Racecourse. The company is forecasted to deliver nine-figure revenues in 2023, with its 2,000-strong team catering for over five million people every year. It also works with Peak in New York, the Royal Albert Hall, Sky Garden and 22 Bishopsgate.

OVG was founded in 2015 by Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff and has overseen the development of Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, New York’s UBS Arena and California’s Acrisure Arena. Co-op Live will open this year, with OVG also working on new projects in São Paulo, Las Vegas and Cardiff.

Leiweke 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.”

Jacobse added: “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.”

OVG recently acquired Bovingdons Catering and the RHC deal represents the company’s continued expansion into premium hospitality. OVG further developed its OVG Hospitality division in August through the acquisition of Spectrum Catering, Concessions & Event Services.

The Spectrum deal came after the completion of OVG’s acquisition of Spectra, one of the industry’s leading food and beverage providers, in November 2021 to create a full-service live events company.

The execution of the RHC transaction was led by Keegan McDonald, OVG’s vice-president of business development; Michael Moschella, vice-president of business development; and Joe Donohue, senior associate of business development.