In a bid to pay off debt and further align itself with live music venues, Live Nation is reportedly close to closing on a major deal to sell several theaters in the UK.
While the specific terms have not been disclosed, media reports place the deal at more than £90 million, or in excess of $143.6 million. The company currently owns more than a dozen theatres in the UK, including the London’s Lyceum Theatre and Apollo Victoria, which currently house British versions of “The Lion King” and “Wicked,” respectively.
The Ambassador Theatre Group is believed to be the frontrunner to buy the properties and fold them into their already formidable theatre holdings, which include the Theatre Royal Glasgow, the Milton Keynes Theatre and Victoria Hall. The exact date of the closing has not been disclosed, and other UK groups believed to have been interested include Qdos and Key Brand Entertainment.
News of the pending deal comes as Live Nation tries to court the favor of UK officials for its proposed merger attempt with Ticketmaster, following the country’s Competition Commission’s preliminary ruling against the merger. The decision to sell the theatres was made well before the Competition Commission’s preliminary finding and is unrelated to that situation, according to a source with knowledge of the sale.
Live Nation has quietly sold off several assets over the past year, partly in an effort to address its staggering amount of debt, which totaled more than $850 million in 2008.
Live Nation spokesperson John Vlautin told TicketNews the company had no comment concerning the pending sale.