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MSG buys 62.5% stake in Tao Group

The Madison Square Garden Company has paid $181m to acquire a majority stake in the US restaurant and nightclub group

By Jon Chapple on 01 Feb 2017

PH-D Lounge, Dream Downtown, New York, Tao Group

Tao Group's PH-D Lounge at the Dream Downtown, New York

image © Tao Group

The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) has acquired a majority stake in restaurant and nightclub owner Tao Group.

Las Vegas-based Tao, which owns and operates hospitality venues in New York, Las Vegas and Sydney, was reported in spring 2015 to be seeking a buyer for a stake in the business, then valued at up to US$500 million.

The deal, announced today, sees MSG pay $181m for a 62.5% interest in the company, with its management retaining the remaining stake.

“Tao Group is a unique and attractive business that furthers our focus on the ‘live experience’ while also exposing us to new areas of growth,” comments MSG executive chairman James L. Dolan. “Tao Group is creating the most innovative premium experiences in the entertainment dining and hospitality industry; no one does it better. We now have a tremendous opportunity to utilise that expertise across our live offerings while leveraging each other’s strengths to drive value and growth for both businesses.”

“Tao Group is a unique and attractive business that furthers our focus on the live experience while also exposing us to new areas of growth”

Tao brands include the Beauty and Essex bar/restaurant (New York and Las Vegas), the Vandal nightclub (New York), the Tao Asian Bistro restaurant (New York and Las Vegas) and the Marquee Nightclub (New York, Las Vegas and Sydney). In 2016 the group generated turnover of $235m and operating income of $43m.

“Over the last 16 years, we’ve seen tremendous growth as we’ve successfully created some of the most enduring brands in the hospitality industry,” says Tao Group co-founder Rich Wolf. “Our partnership with MSG enables us to continue down this path as we advance our plans to build a global hospitality platform, now backed by an organisation with an unparalleled position as one of the world’s leading live entertainment companies.

“We are thrilled to be joining the MSG family, and look forward to working with them on creating truly unique and exceptional experiences.”

The Madison Square Garden Company owns the eponymous 20,000-capacity New York entertainment and sports venue, as well as Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre in New York, the Chicago Theatre, the LA Forum, the New York Rangers ice hockey team and the New York Knicks and New York Liberty basketball teams. It increased revenue $150.4m in the first quarter (Q1) of 2017 – although losses also grew to $32.8m, from $4.6m in Q1 2016.


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