Tao Group, a longtime creator of hot global nightlife brands and fine dining, has found harmony with billionaire Mark Scheinberg’s company Mohari. The latter has moved to acquire the hospitality giant in a deal that would value Tao Group at $550 million.
Tao Group has launched clubs, pop-ups and eateries like the eponymous Tao, the Michelin Star-awarded Hakkasan, Omnia, Marquee, Lavo and Beauty & Essex in multiple cities across the U.S. and internationally. The locations have been heavily favored by celebrities, media powerbrokers, sports stars and other gliteratti for over two decades. Tao is run by co-CEO’s Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss.
“Tao Group has grown from an innovator in nightlife to a leader in premium lifestyle and hospitality. Its global footprint of more than 80 branded locations in over 20 markets and best-in-class management infrastructure speaks to the Group’s tremendous potential,” said J. Allen Smith, Managing Partner, Mohari. “We look forward to working with Noah Tepperberg, Jason Strauss and the rest of the dynamic management team to continue growing Tao Group’s business.”
Following an expected close in May, Mohari will take the ownership stake previously held by Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. Initial post-merger plans include the incorporation of Tao venues in Mohari’s existing portfolio of luxury destinations, including the Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica, anchored by a Four Seasons luxury resort; Centro Canalejas Madrid, featuring the Four Seasons Madrid; and The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.
“Over the last 20 years, we have been laser-focused on building premium guest experiences and a company with a global influence in all areas of hospitality, entertainment and pop culture,” said Tepperberg. “Mohari’s shared vision, coupled with the strength of its portfolio and leadership, make it an ideal partner as we look at the next chapter.”
“Adding Tao Group to our portfolio is a major strategic milestone for Mohari and we’re excited about the prospects for the combined business and the transformational potential of our partnership,” said Mark Scheinberg, Founder and Principal, Mohari. “Noah and Jason have built a world class and industry leading organization and I’m personally thrilled to have their leadership and entrepreneurial spirit joining the Mohari family. The combination of our assets, brands and teams creates a unique global platform to further realize our vision and expand on our ambition in the hospitality space.”
As a result of the sale, Tao Group will enter into a multi-year agreement with MSG Entertainment for ongoing consulting, marketing and support services at Madison Square Garden and Sphere in Las Vegas.
Mohari’s founder Scheinberg is an Israeli-Canadian businessman and investor with investments in various sectors including real estate and luxury hospitality. He is the co-founder and former co-owner of the online gambling company PokerStars, which was sold in 2014 to Amaya Gaming for $4.9 billion.
In 2001 Scheinberg founded PokerStars with his father Isai Scheinberg, a computer programmer. During his tenure as CEO, PokerStars became the world’s largest online poker business and host to the world’s largest online tournament series, acquiring the Full Tilt Poker brand in 2012. In August 2014, Oldford Group Ltd, the PokerStars parent company, was acquired by the Canadian publicly listed company Amaya Gaming Group for $4.9 billion. Upon completion of the sale, Scheinberg exited the PokerStars group. As of May 2017, Scheinberg was the richest person on the Isle of Man.
Via his investment company Mohari Hospitality, in early 2017 Scheinberg became a major investor in Centro Canalejas Madrid, a real estate project in Madrid, Spain. Mohari purchased a 50% stake in the Centro for €225 million from the Grupo OHL subsidiary OHL Desarrollos and the industrial group Villa Mir, who both also retained stakes. The project involved the restoration of seven historic adjacent buildings for residential, hotel and commercial use. With a large amount of retail space, the complex will also house the first Four Seasons hotel in Spain.
With Tao Group joining Mohari’s portfolio of investments, the companies look to create a global platform for the development and management of premium hospitality assets.