By Blair Kahora Cardinal
Oak View Group (OVG), a global venue development, advisory, and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries, announced that it has completed the transaction to acquire Spectra, one of the industry’s leading venue management and hospitality providers, to create one world-class, full-service live events company.
While the initial acquisition agreement was first announced on August 30, the companies were awaiting regulatory approval from the Department of Justice per the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (the “HSR Act”), which they received Monday, November 15. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“Now that OVG’s acquisition of Spectra is complete, we can get down to the business of delivering an expanded highly competitive set of services that anticipate and meet the evolving needs of our global client base,” Tim Leiweke, CEO of OVG, said. “We’ll begin the important process of fully integrating the talented team at Spectra and bringing together our two organizations to create something truly extraordinary in the live events and entertainment industry.”
The deal comes at a time when OVG is busy leading arena redevelopment and operations of the recently opened Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center, as well as leading arena development projects including UBS Arena in Belmont Park, NY; Moody Center in Austin, TX; New Arena in Coachella Valley, CA; Co-op Live in Manchester, UK; as well as arena projects in São Paulo, Brazil, and Hamilton, Ontario
As part of the proposed acquisition, the combined organization will serve current and future clients with a complete array of venue and hospitality services, including powerful booking advocacy; innovative, customized food & beverage experiences; award-winning sales & marketing support; cutting-edge public health and public safety solutions; unmatched leadership in sustainable, green operations; and analytic insights that will enable smarter and faster operational decisions.
Integration of the two companies is expected to begin immediately with Chris Granger at the helm beginning December 1 as the new CEO of OVG Facilities, a division of the Oak View Group focused on providing full-service venue management expertise, event programming, and now food & beverage solutions to arenas, stadiums, and convention centers, on a global basis.
Granger said, “Venues are incredible community assets, the very last town square, perhaps the remaining place where diverse people gather to laugh, to cheer, to sing, to dance, to dine, to conduct business, to protest, or to vote en masse. As the needs and uses of these venues continue to evolve, we will be there, with our clients, leading the way. We will respect the planet; we will mirror the diversity of the many communities in which we do business; and we will provide our fans and our clients with extraordinary service, indelible memories, and easy confidence in knowing that we can again, and forever, gather safely.”
Founded in 2015 by industry veterans Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff, OVG specializes in real estate venue development and financing, sponsorship sales and partnership management, media and content, and facilities management and security. OVG has deep partnerships with prominent venues, including major league facilities such as the recently opened Climate Pledge Arena (Seattle) and UBS Arena (Belmont, NY), among others.
Spectra is a leader in venue management, food services & hospitality, and partnerships services and will fold its 330 top-tier clients across North America and the globe – including stadiums, arenas, convention centers, performing arts centers, fairgrounds, and casinos – into the newly merged company.
Dave Scott, Chairman and CEO of Comcast Spectacor, said, “The combined strength, energy, and expertise of OVG and Spectra has created a dynamic company, the likes of which the industry has not yet experienced. The leadership team has a powerful vision for growth, which will bode well for their collective clients, employees, and partners. As Spectacor Events & Entertainment continues to partner on content development, I look forward to watching the company grow and prosper.”
Completion of the combination was subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Following the close of the transaction, OVG will remain headquartered in Los Angeles, with the headquarters for Spectra remaining in Philadelphia.
UBS Investment Bank acted as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal advisor to Oak View Group. Moelis & Company LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor and Davis Polk acted as legal advisor to Spectra.
Blair Kahora Cardinal is Vice President, Communications for Spectra.