Operations

Oak View Group acquires Rhubarb Hospitality Collection

The Los Angeles-based Oak View Group is both a facility developer and full-service venue operator that has been growing its foodservice division into a global player through acquisition.
Peak Restaurant Hudson Yards
Peak restaurant is on the 101st floor of a tower at Hudson Yards in New York/Photo courtesy of Charissa Fay.

The U.K.-based operator of the in-the-clouds Peak Restaurant and Quin Bar at Hudson Yards in New York has been acquired by a Los Angeles-based investment company that is positioning to become a major foodservice management player.

London-based Rhubarb Hospitality Collection, or RHC, which operates high-end restaurants and bars in venues like the Sky Garden tower in London overlooking the Thames, has been acquired by Oak View Group, or OVG, the company announced Friday. Terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 2015 by Tim Leiweke, former CEO of AEG Corp., and former music manager Irving Azoff, who was also previously CEO of MSG Entertainment, OVG has or is developing nine sports and entertainment facilities around the world, five of which are open and operating. Among them is the soon-to-open Co-op Live in Manchester, England, for example, which is being developed with the Manchester City Football Group, but investors also reportedly include pop star Harry Styles. The company also manages venues around the world, including stadiums, performing arts centers, fairgrounds and more in the U.S.

Over the past two years, OVG has been building its foodservice arm to serve both its own venues and other third-party outlets. In 2021, for example, OVG acquired food-and-beverage provider Spectra, and the following year added Spectrum Concessions in North America, which handles foodservice for sporting events like the PGA Tour, March Madness and the Davis Cup.

OVG also picked up U.K.-based specialty caterer Bovingdons in 2022. The investment company also has a partnership with wine specialist Christian Navarro, known for the wine-shop-turned-restaurant Wally’s Wine & Spirits in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The addition of Rhubarb brings another high-end hospitality provider into the fold.

In the U.S., Rhubarb is known for the Peak concept that opened in 2020, a 10,000-square-foot venue on the 101st floor of the tallest building within Hudson Yards, which offers panoramic views of New York City.

Rhubarb also operates the restaurants Frederick’s at Sony Center in Berlin, Verdi Italian Kitchen at the Royal Albert Hall in London, and Pilots Bar & Kitchen at Heathrow Airport. The company is the preferred foodservice partner for more than 70 venues, including London’s Historic Royal Palaces, the Natural History Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and Old Billingsgate.

Rhubarb is projected to deliver “nine-figure revenues” in 2023, the company 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 our there,” said Leiweke in a statement.

“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," he added. "If you look at the arenas we own and operate and you look at our upcoming ventures, like Co-op Live, by adding RHC 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.”

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