3:40pm PT by Chris Gardner
EMM Group Acquired by 'Billion Dollar Buyer' Host
EMM Group — the New York-based hospitality group best known for its Catch franchise of restaurants including the A-list-heavy West Hollywood outpost — has been acquired by deep-pocketed restaurateur and investor Tillman J. Fertitta.
Fertitta, the hospitality mogul and star of the CNBC show Billion Dollar Buyer, has acquired 50 percent of EMM, which includes its Catch restaurants in Los Angeles; Playa del Carmen, Mexico; Dubai; and the original location in New York, as well as Manhattan's Lexington Brass. As part of the deal, Fertitta and EMM Group have plans to expand Catch with locations planned for New York's Midtown, London and Las Vegas.
According to Page Six, which was the first to report the news, the deal closed last week.
"Having access to Tilman and his team will allow Mark and I to focus more on operations and provides us with ample capital to grow Catch," said Eugene Remm, who founded the company with Mark Birnbaum and business partner Michael Hirtenstein.
Fertitta revealed in a statement that there are "no changes whatsoever" planned for operations.
"Mark and Eugene are the dynamic duo and have an unbridled energy and passion for success. They understand today's millennials and know how to operate restaurants and drive traffic," added Fertitta, the sole owner, chairman and CEO of Fertitta Entertainment, which owns restaurant giant Landry's and the Golden Nugget casinos. "I am here to provide guidance and help fund future growth of the brand."
According to his official bio, Fertitta's company has revenues over $3.4 billion and assets of more than $3.5 billion. Landry's operates more than 500 properties in 36 states with several international locations. Fertitta employs more than 60,000 employees across restaurants including McCormick & Schmick's, Rainforest Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Mastro's Steakhouse and Ocean Club, Morton's The Steakhouse, La Griglia and Willie G's.
Remm and Birnbaum launched EMM in 2006 with a focus on hospitality "experiences." Earlier this year — after the successful launch of Catch LA with patronage from Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, David Beckham and WME and Netflix personnel — the duo told The Hollywood Reporter that their focus is "great food, service and vibe. So as long as we execute those three elements, we are confident we can be successful."
On behalf of all of us at @emmgroupinc we are thrilled to announce that @tilmanfertitta, owner of America's largest individual restaurant group and host of @billiondollarbuyer on @cnbc, has acquired half of EMM Group including all @catch restaurants. We are excited for the new partnership and all future expansion! #nextchapterbegins
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