Sugar, the Italian company that owns the indie label of Andrea Bocelli and extensive music publishing interests, has sold its two flagship Messaggerie Musicali stores to Mondadori Retail. The latter f

Sugar, the Italian company that owns the indie label of Andrea Bocelli and extensive music publishing interests, has sold its two flagship Messaggerie Musicali stores to Mondadori Retail. The latter forms part of the media empire of Italy's flamboyant former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

The two Messaggerie Musicali megastores, which occupy key retail locations in downtown Milan and Rome respectively, were sold for a total of €24 million ($31 million).

The Milan store was opened by Ladislao Sugar, the late grandfather of current president Filippo Sugar, in 1936. It had originally been set up for selling musical scores, prior to extending to records, books and, more recently, video.

In a statement, Filippo Sugar says that the income from the sale "will be invested in strengthening the company's presence in the digital market."

And, for the Mondadori group, CEO Maurizio Costa says in a statement that "the addition of the two Messaggerie Musicali stores to our retail network re-inforces a strategy of growth in this sector."

In separate Italian news, Arezzo Wave, the Italian independent music and arts festival that held its 20th edition earlier this year, is set to change both its location and its name. With effect from the 2007 edition, the festival will move from the Tuscan town of Arrezo to Florence and will be known as "Italia Wave." The first edition of the "Italia Wave Love Festival" will be held from July 17 to 22, 2007.

Arezzo Wave has developed an artistic partnership with Austin Texas' South by Southwest Festival in recent years. It has also promoted Italian music abroad with its own private Italian music office, an organization that has released compilations and staged showcases at Midem. Arezzo Wave was the event that gave artists such as Ben Harper their first exposure in Italy.

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