West End Theatre Sales

A consortium led by Michael Grade, the broadcast executive, has bought four of London’s West End theatres for £50m from Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group (RUG). Andrew Lloyd Webber announced:

It has been a totally gut-wrenching decision for me to decide to sell the four theatres, however following my illness last year I was advised to reduce the debt in the family company. My commitment to composing, producing and theatre ownership remains as strong as ever.

Michael Grade has family connections with the theatre. His father, Leslie Grade, was a theatrical agent , and his uncles were Lew Grade and Bernard Delfont, co-founder of theatre group Delfont Mackintosh Theatres.

The four theatres involved in the sales are these:

The Palace Theatre – currently playing Priscilla – Queen of the Desert

The New London Theatre – currently playing War Horse

The Cambridge Theatre – currently playing Chicago

Her Majesty’s TheatreThe Phantom of the Opera

The sale represents 4,900 theatre seats altogether.

RUG retains ownership of larger theatres including

The London Palladium – Soon to be the home of The Wizard of Oz

The Theatre Royal Drury Lane – Currently showing Oliver!,  soon Shrek the Musical

50 per cent stake in the Adelphi – currently home for the London production of Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webbers most recent new show.

He also said:

I am particularly proud that over the 25 years that I have owned the Palace I have been able to restore the magnificent auditorium and the exterior, thereby removing the huge neon advertising hoarding that defaced both the theatre and Cambridge Circus.

I have agreed the purchase price be reduced by £5m to enable GradeLinnit to invest this sum in the theatres, principally in the Palace.

The Really Useful Group previously sold its four West End playhouses – the Lyric, Garrick, Apollo and Duchess Theatres to Nimax Theatres in 2005.

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