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A version of story first appeared in the June 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
London and Las Vegas-based hospitality giant Hakkasan, whose high-sheen, on-trend dining and nightlife holdings span from Europe and the Middle East across America, has acquired a majority interest in L.A.’s The h.wood Group, an upstart and quickly burgeoning local player in the same hospitality space that claims $22 million in revenue last year, up from just $4 million in 2010.
The deal signals an aggressive push into the L.A. market for Hakkasan, which launched its upmarket Cantonese restaurant in Beverly Hills in 2013, one of a series of outposts, from Miami to Mumbai. The company’s holdings also include the San Diego-centric dining concepts of celebrity chef Brian Malarkey (Top Chef, The Taste) and a string of lucrative Las Vegas clubs – including Pure and Wet Republic – which have been key to that city’s current electronic dance music boom.
PHOTOS: Nightlife Playbook, From Sin City to Hollywood
The h.wood Group, whose current projects include the industry-favored after-dark hotspots SHOREbar in Santa Monica and Bootsy Bellows in West Hollywood (which has popped up in the past year at Sundance, Cannes and Coachella), intends to open up to 10 new restaurants, bars and clubs within the next two years – half in California, with others ranging from Austin to Qatar. “With this deal we’re able to pull the trigger on these projects faster than we’d normally do,” says h.wood co-founder John Terzian.
Hakkasan Group president Nick McCabe tells THR that “we’re keen to expand rapidly,” particularly in L.A., which he considers a key feeder market for the company’s Las Vegas holdings: “We want to work with people who are embedded locally, with boots on the ground. We saw a huge amount of potential with [The h.wood Group]. Now they’ll have more capital and infrastructure to bring into the game.”
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