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 sale represents 4,900 theatre seats altogether.
RUG retains ownership of larger theatres including
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.