LDC Stumps Up MAMA Money

Private equity house LDC has come up with the $11.7 million that MAMA Group chief exec Dean James needed to buy back the company from cash-strapped British music retailer HMV.

Confirmation of the deal came Dec. 3, along with a statement that the London-based venue and festival owner is set for international expansion.

Funding from the mid-market private equity house, part of Lloyds Banking Group, will enable MAMA to make “international acquisitions” that will increase the global influence of its brands and “enhance the prospect for faster growth from global sponsorship and promotions.”

“To say I am pleased that MAMA has been able to partner with LDC seems inadequate,” James said in a statement. “MAMA has for some time been one of the leading live music companies in the UK and with LDC we will develop our venue and festival business to consolidate our position in this market, and will look to expand into Asia and America.

“We will build on our recent additions to the promotions team and will also re-establish MAMA’s artist services business. MAMA’s distribution assets, The Fly, venue estate, festivals and our tech platform, make it the perfect partner for any artist wishing to build and engage with its fanbase,” he explained.

He said that “untangling ourselves” from HMV had been long and difficult process but one that has been handled with extraordinary grace and patience by all involved.

James sold the company to HMV for $72.5 million at the end of 2009. HMV has since recouped $52 million by selling London’s Hammersmith Apollo to a partnership between AEG and German ticket giant CTS Eventim.

“Live Music is a growing and increasingly important sector of the UK economy and in supporting the management buyout of MAMA Group we believe we are backing the best management team and the most recognised, successful brand in the business,” said LDC investment director Alistair Pendleton.

The MAMA package includes a network of UK music venues, including London’s ForumJazz Café and The Borderline and regionally Edinburgh Picture House, Manchester Ritz and the Institute in Birmingham.

It also has festivals including Lovebox, Global Gathering, The Great Escape and Wilderness. A month ago, MAMA announced it had purchased half of worldwide concert and festival promoter All Tomorrow’s Parties.