Madison Square Garden Co. Buys Majority Stake In TAO Group For $181 Million

By Trey Williams Markets MarketWatch Pulse

The Madison Square Garden Co. on Wednesday said it has taken a 62.5% stake in newly formed TAO Group in hopes of strengthening its portfolio of live entertainment. The majority stake cost MSG $181 million, plus a potential performance earn-out of up to $25.5 million, according to a news release. TAO Group's management team retains the remaining 37.5% and will run the day-to-day operations of the dining, entertainment and nightlife business. TAO Group owns and operates 19 venues in New York City, Las Vegas and Sydney, Australia. "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 MSG Executive Chairman James Dolan in a statement. MSG over the summer moved into the music festival business, buying controlling interest in entertainment production company Boston Calling Events and MSG already holds 50% ownership in the Tribeca Film Festival. Shares of MSG have gained more than 14% in the trailing 12-month period, while the S&P 500 Index is up 17% in the same time.

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