MAMA Turnaround Gathers Pace

Within five months of narrowly escaping from the same administrative hole that sucked in HMV, MAMA & Company has announced it’s opening up in Asia and planning new events for the region.

At the beginning of December, private equity house LDC came up with the $11.7 million that MAMA Group chief exec Dean James needed to buy back the company from the cash-strapped British music retailer.

The new Asian operation will be directed by Paul Hugo, managing director of International for MAMA’s GlobalGathering Group. Hugo has extensive knowledge of the region and over 10 years touring and event experience across Asia.

He will build on the existing presence of the group’s event portfolio in the area, which currently includes GlobalGathering festival in South Korea and Godskitchen arena shows in Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea.

“Having spent much of the last 10 years travelling across Asia, putting on events from China all the way to Indonesia, it’s exciting to be able to take the MAMA & Company business to the next level in this region and put down solid roots with the establishment of the Singapore office,” Hugo said. “We intend to promote the visionary ethos of MAMA & Company, working with the best people locally, to deliver fresh new festival and event concepts to the Asian markets.”

Funding from LDC, Part of Lloyds Banking Group, has already enabled MAMA to buy back its Lovebox Festival in the UK and acquire London’s 450-capacity Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen.

When the LDC was made public, James – who sold MAMA to HMV for $72.5 million at the end of 2009 – hinted the company would soon “look to expand into Asia and America.”

Due to the widespread success of the brands under its ownership, in 2008 MAMA and Company bought GlobalGathering in a bid to further develop its high-quality music events.