Venue management giant Oak View Group (OVG) has acquired UK hospitality provider Rhubarb Hospitality Collection (RHC).
OVG said it plans to use the Royal Ascot caterer to improve the food and beverage offer at its arenas around the world, including Manchester’s 23,500-capacity Co-op Live (pictured) – set to be the UK’s largest indoor concert venue when it opens next year.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the Financial Times understands OVG had paid asset manager LGT Private Debt at least £100m for the caterer.
Following the launch of OVG Hospitality in 2021, the company has completed the acquisitions of Spectra in November 2021, Spectrum Concessions in North America in August 2022 and UK-based Bovingdons in October 2022.
Rhubarb caters to more than five million people every year at venues including Peak in New York, the Royal Albert Hall, Ascot Racecourse, Sky Garden, immersive live entertainment experiences Mamma Mia! The Party and Frameless, as well as venues in Berlin including Edge. The company said it is forecasted to deliver nine-figure revenues in 2023.
OVG chairman and CEO Tim Leiweke said, “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.
“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 Hospitality Group chief executive Pieter-Bas Jacobse 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.”