The UK-based Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), which bought more than a dozen London-area theaters from Live Nation in 2009, has seen both its revenues and profits grow since the purchase.
The company paid more than $140 million for the 17 Live Nation theaters, a move that was almost derailed by a lawsuit filed by ATG rival Key Brand Entertainment (KBE), which unsuccessfully tried to claim that it had a deal with Live Nation to be given a final chance to bid on the theaters.
KBE had bought several U.S. theaters from Live Nation in 2008, and it believed it had a separate bidding deal with Live Nation after that. The lawsuit was dismissed, however, and the ATG purchase closed in late 2009.
ATG already owned more than a dozen UK theaters prior to the acquisition, and following the purchase it became the country’s dominant theater owner/operator, with theaters throughout London’s West End and nearby areas.
According to The Stage, ATG’s revenues grew 5 percent from April 2010 through March 2011, the first full reporting year since the acquisition, to more than $155.5 million, and Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) rose 3 percent to just under $28 million.
“We’re very pleased with the results,” ATG co-CEO Rosemary Squire told The Stage. “We had a half year before, but this is the first combined full year of the business. EBITDA was about 3 percent up on the previous year if you look at the trading of the two groups separately and put them together. We’re pleased, given the [economic] conditions and that it’s a special year for our business as there are a lot of costs which are one-off costs to combine two big businesses.”
Live Nation sold off the theaters in an effort to generate revenues by shedding non-core assets, but the company was also trying to court the favor of UK government officials who were reviewing the company’s merger with Ticketmaster at the time.