HMV Sells London's Hammersmith Apollo To Stage C For $49 Million
HMV Sells London's Hammersmith Apollo To Stage C For $49 Million

London's HMV Apollo opened in 1932 as the Gaumont Palace, a cinema designed by Robert Cromie in the Art Deco style. It became the Hammersmith Odeon in 1962 and famous destination for live music. The name changed the Apollo in the 1990s.

Stage C has conditionally bought London's popular music venue HMV Hammersmith Apollo, from U.K. music retail giant HMV Group for 32 million pounds (about $49.3 million). Stage C Ltc is jointly owned by Ansco Music Club Limited, a company within the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), and getgo Consulting GmbH, a company within Germany's CTS Eventim AG.

The deal still requires approval by both regulators and HMV shareholders. The news comes following recent stories that the financially struggling HMV was seeking a buyer for the MAMA Group, its live-events business.

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Apollo Hammersmith was bought in 2007 by the MAMA Group, which was then taken over by HMV Group in 2010. It has a standing capacity of 5,039 and has been a popular choice for live CD or DVD recordings of several international acts, including Kings of Leon and Kylie Minogue.

"It has been a privilege to have been the custodians of this fabulous venue for the past five years," MAMA Group's CEO Dean James said in a statement. "The Apollo is one of the U.K.'s most iconic performance spaces, for both music and comedy, presenting sell-out shows from internationally acclaimed artists."

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James went on to say the whole of the MAMA Group is not for sale. "MAMA is, and always has been, a mid-sized live-music venue and festival business and this will remain our focus going forward," James added. "We have always worked with emerging talent, taking them through our estate and we will be doing much more of this both in the U.K. and internationally."

This contradicts reports that surfaced last week claiming AEG was granted preferred bidder status to purchase The MAMA Group. Others believed to be participating in the bidding were Sony Music and private-equity firm Oakley Capital.

The MAMA Group's famous festival brands include Lovebox, The Great Escape and Global Gathering and it other venues include the London-based HMV Forum, Heaven, Jazz Café and The Borderline.

The Hammersmith Apollo will also go down in history as the venue for Bruce Springsteen's first U.K. gig, after which a critic wrote: "I have seen the future of rock 'n' roll at the Hammersmith Odeon (the venue's former name)."

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