Lloyd Webber Sells Off West End Theatres???
Date: 17 January 2005
According to today’s Evening Standard, Andrew Lloyd Webber may soon dismantle the property-owning arm of his theatre empire. The newspaper reports that Really Useful Theatres is currently in negotiations – via Patrick McKenna at Ingenious Media - to sell the Duchess, Apollo, Garrick and Lyric to a “mystery buyer”. If the sale of those went ahead, RUT’s seven other venues – the Adelphi, Cambridge, Her Majesty’s, New London, Palace, Palladium and Theatre Royal Drury Lane – could also go under the hammer. Most of the venues were formerly part of the Stoll Moss group, which Lloyd Webber bought out in 2000, in what was at that time, the biggest shake-up in theatreland in 80 years (See News, 10 Jan 2000). That deal had a reported price tag of £100 million, which Lloyd Webber raised by teaming up with City-based venture capitalists NatWest Equity Partners who retain a 50 percent stake in RUT. Amongst the potential bidders tipped by the Evening Standard are fellow West End theatre owners Cameron Mackintosh, the Ambassador Theatre Group and Max Weitzenhoffer (who owns the Vaudeville). Other possibilities are Clear Channel Entertainment or various Broadway moguls. Lloyd Webber has previously stressed his belief that the West End should be owned and run by people with a background and vested interest in theatre.
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