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Churchill part of world’s biggest theatre chain

PUBLISHED: 14:11 04 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:43 16 August 2010

THE world s largest live music company has sold all its theatres to a regional chain for £90 million. Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), which runs the Churchill in Bromley, became the biggest theatre operator in the Britain on Monday after buying 16 Live N

THE world's largest live music company has sold all its theatres to a regional chain for £90 million.

Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), which runs the Churchill in Bromley, became the biggest theatre operator in the Britain on Monday after buying 16 Live Nation venues, including West End and regional theatres.

Live Nation's one-third stake in the Dominion theatre in the West End was bought by Nederlander Group.

The sale forms part of an ongoing strategy by Live Nation to focus on its live music operation.

Chiefs are selling off non-core assets, such as its theatre venues, to help fund expansion in this area.

The global live entertainment group previously sold its US theatres in a $90 million deal to Key Brand Entertainment in 2007.

President and chief executive officer of Live Nation Michael Rapino said: "Despite extremely difficult economic conditions our UK Theatre division has performed exceedingly well over the past year enabling us to complete the sale at a price that represents an attractive valuation multiple. The proceeds generated from this sale allow us to continue our goal to clear our balance sheet by selling off assets that are not core to our live music strategy.

"We are very pleased to have worked with both The Ambassador Theatre Group and The Nederlander Group and wish them all the success through their ownership in these great theatres."

The source of ATG's funding for the bid remains a mystery. Investment bank Goldman Sachs handled the UK bidding as well as overseeing the US sale.

A spokesperson for the Churchill theatre refused to comment on how the deal will affect the Bromley venue.

Former BBC Director General Greg Dyke will be joining the company in the new role of executive chairman.

ATG's joint chief executive Rosemary Squire, said: "This is the start of a very exciting chapter for everyone at ATG and Live Nation Theatres as we move forward together, to deliver quality entertainment and outstanding customer service to our customer base across the UK. I'd like to welcome our new work colleagues from Live Nation Theatres and wish everyone continued success for the future."

The massive deal includes West End theatres such as the Lyceum and Apollo Victoria theatres.

Regional venues are the Oxford Apollo, Oxford Old Fire Station, Edinburgh Playhouse, Manchester Opera House, Manchester Palace, Bristol Hippodrome, Alexandra Birmingham, York Grand Opera House, Liverpool Empire, Sunderland Empire, Southport, Grimsby Auditorium, Spa Pavilion Felixstowe and the Leas Cliff Hall.


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