Mama Cash-Rich And Ready

The reported £18.25 million ($27.5 million) Mama Group made from selling half its interest in the old Mean Fiddler venues has left the company debt-free and well-placed to make further acquisitions.

Pre-tax profits for the six months ending Jan. 31 shot up to £4.95 million, against £150,000 for the same period last year, and cash in the bank and on hand now stands at about £5.3 million.

Under the deal, Mama moved 11 of its venues including London’s Hammersmith Apollo and The Forum into the new Mean Fiddler Group, and then let in music retailer HMV as an equal partner.

The other venues were the job-lot of old Mean Fiddler buildings that LN-Gaiety acquired when it bought that company and then sold to Mama, when it switched its attentions to Academy Music Group.

Mama takes half the new group’s profits and continues to run the venues.

The company’s sales for the six months rose 38 percent to £17.5 million, boosted by a strong performance from its festival division, which includes a 60 percent stake in London’s Lovebox Weekender in Victoria Park.

Mama manages 40 artists in the U.K., including Kaiser Chiefs, White Lies and Franz Ferdinand.

The figures immediately bumped up the company’s share price, sending it up 17 percent to 5.63 pence on the London Stock Exchange. They were as low as 4.25 pence before the HMV deal.