In a move to boost its food and beverage concessions footprint, Hudson Group has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in St. Louis-based OHM Concession Group LLC. The transaction is expected to be completed in late 2019 or early 2020.

Milan Patel, president and CEO of OHM, will stay on as a partner to manage the integration.

Retail concessions giant Hudson currently operates about 50 quick service and café concepts across the United States and Canada. The purchase of OHM will add approximately 60 units to Hudson’s existing food concessions base and allows Hudson access to new markets, including Albany International Airport (ALB) and Pensacola International Airport (PNS). OHM’s food and beverage concepts include &pizza, the Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, the Bracket Room Sports Lounge, Chick-fil-A, Currito, Dunkin Donuts, Jamba Juice, Einstein Bros. Bagels and more.

“In 2013, I was fortunate to partner with the Hudson team on the retail program at my home airport, St. Louis Lambert International (STL),” says Patel. “Today, I am extremely proud that my relationship with the Hudson family has blossomed into this opportunity.

“The Hudson team represents the same principles my uncle and father, the founders of OHM, taught me: focus on quality, deliver excellence to our guests and provide our associates with a great place to work,” Patel continued. “On behalf of over 900 OHM associates, we look forward to an exciting and bright future with the Hudson team.”

Roger Fordyce, Hudson Group CEO, called the acquisition a “pivotal step” in accelerating Hudson’s growth strategy within the $6 billion North American food and beverage airport concessions market.

“It expands our existing stake and adds new capabilities, including full-service, fast casual, sports restaurants and fine dining locations to our portfolio, ultimately bringing unmatched offerings to suit all types of travelers’ needs,” says Fordyce. “The addition of OHM to the Hudson family strengthens our presence in travel concessions and further enhances our ability to compete for additional contracts in existing and new airports. Under Milan’s leadership, OHM has an impressive track record of growth and a strong reputation in the industry. Today marks the beginning of the next chapter in OHM and Hudson’s growth story.”

Based in Missouri, OHM was founded in 1998 and is privately held by Patel. OHM operates restaurants at 13 airports across the U.S., including Boston, St. Louis, Washington DC, Greenville, Orlando, and most recently won contracts in Salt Lake City and Indianapolis. In 2018, OHM generated $62 million of revenue.

Hudson’s purchase of OHM marks the latest in a string of consolidation moves in the airport concessions industry. On the food and beverage side, Hudson’s foray toward a larger food and beverage footprint comes on the heels of moves by rival retailer Paradies Lagardère, which purchased Hojeij Branded Foods in November 2018, building on its acquisition of Vino Volo in 2017.

On the retail side, HMSHost purchased Stellar Partners in 2016; then Stellar Partners went on to purchase Pacific Gateway Concessions in 2019. Meanwhile, WHSmith, the U.K. travel retailer, re-entered the U.S. market with the purchase of InMotion in 2018, and has agreed to purchase Marshall Retail Group in a transaction that is expected to close early next year.