AEG And Eventim To Share Apollo

AEG and CTS Eventim have been successful in a joint bid for London’s Hammersmith Apollo.

The announcement came May 31, confirming London music industry gossip that said the world-famous venue would go to the U.S. entertainment conglomerate and the German ticketing giant.

Two weeks ago, when the music business grapevine began saying HMV had opted to sell the Apollo to AEG and Eventim, neither company would comment on the story.

Neither was it possible to get comment from MAMA Group co-founder and chief exec Dean James, whose company owned the Apollo and became part of HMV in a £65 million deal in 2010.

The official purchaser of the Apollo is Stage C Limited, a company jointly owned by Eventim subsidiary Getgo Consulting GmbH and AEG-owned Ansco Music Club Limited.

James says it’s been a “privilege to have been the custodians of this fabulous venue for the past five years” and that he wishes Jay Marciano (AEG), Klaus-Peter Schulenberg (Eventim) and their teams “as much success and pleasure as we have enjoyed.”

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, although the offer was obviously high enough to persuade HMV to take the flagship venue package and sell the building separately.

According to The Guardian, the venue formerly known as the Hammersmith Odeon – which is estimated to make £2.5 million a year – fetched as much as £32 million.

At press time it wasn’t possible to get James to comment on what will happen to the rest of the package that HMV has put on the block.

However, an Apollo statement quotes him saying that MAMA Group will continue to do business as usual.

“We have always worked with emerging talent, taking them through our estate, and we will be doing much more of this both in the UK and internationally,” he said.

The comment will likely increase industry and media speculation that James will continue running the group, courtesy of a management-led buyout funded by U.S. private equity firm Oakley Capital.

The venue portfolio includes a handful of London rooms such as the HMV Forum, Heaven, The Garage , Barfly Camden, Jazz Café and The Borderline.

It also has regional venues such as the Manchester’s HMV Ritz, Edinburgh’s HMV Picture House, and the HMV Institute in Birmingham.

The UK festivals up for sale include Lovebox, The Great Escape, Wilderness, Vintage and Global Gathering.

HMV’s put its music business interests up for sale in order to cut its estimated £180 million debt by about one-third.