International Petroleum Investment Company, or IPIC, is a $780 billion investment fund out of Abu Dhabi that has helped fund the global expansion of the Hakkasan restaurant empire, as well as the eponymously named club that opened earlier this year in Vegas. Eater has now received multiple reports that the fund is VERY close to inking another deal that will expand their restaurant and nightlife interests by acquiring a 50% stake of James Brennan's Enlightened Hospitality, which owns San Diego's Stingaree and Top Chef alum Brian Malarkey's restaurant consortium. The deal, which is reportedly worth close to $28 million, will give IPIC a foothold in two key Southern California markets that feed into Vegas, and will provide Enlightened with a capital infusion to fund further expansion.
Enlightened is set to debut its next Malarkey branded restaurant Herringbone at the Mondrian come January 7 and has taken over all culinary and nightlife operations at that property. Calls for comment from Enlightened Hospitality's representatives were not immediately returned, however Brennan did deny knowledge of any merger when asked at a Herringbone LA media preview last week. [EaterWire] — David Morris