The Madison Square Garden Company has acquired a majority stake in nightclub and restaurant operator TAO Group, the companies announced on Wednesday. MSG paid $181 million for a 62.5 percent interest in the hospitality group, which operates 19 dining and nightlife venues in New York City, Las Vegas and Sydney. TAO co-founders Marc Packer, Rich Wolf, Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss keep the remaining 37.5 percent share.
"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,” said James L. Dolan, the executive Chairman of MSG. "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 utilize that expertise across our live offerings, while leveraging each other’s strengths to drive value and growth for both businesses."
TAO operates several high-profile venue brands, including Tao, Marquee, Lavo, Avenue, The Stanton Social, Beauty & Essex and Vandal. It is also in expansion mode -- the firm has several new venues lined up, including in new markets including Los Angeles, Chicago and Singapore. For MSG, stewards of Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and the Forum, among other storied properties, the partnership adds a proven hospitality and nightclub component to its live entertainment business.