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New owners for York's Grand Opera House
YORK’S Grand Opera House theatre is back in American ownership following a £250 million deal.
Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), which counts the Cumberland Street venue among its 40-strong theatre portfolio, has been acquired by US-based Providence Equity Partners.
The firm is a private equity specialist, buying the business with funds from private investors.
The move comes four years after ATG bought the Grand Opera House and 13 other theatres from Live Nation, also an American firm, for £90 million. Providence Equity has taken a majority stake, with ATG’s previous main investor, Exponent, retaining 18 per cent.
ATG was founded in 1992 by husband and wife duo Sir Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire, who will both be staying with the business as joint chief executives following the takeover.
In a joint statement they said: “This new partnership cements the foundations for the company’s planned future growth.
“Providence’s extensive global reach and its existing investments in media, digital and live entertainment companies around the world offer an unparalleled opportunity for ATG to realise its international ambitions.
“We’re also pleased to be maintaining our close working relationship with Exponent, with whom we’ve enjoyed some real success over the past four years.”
ATG’s chairman Greg Dyke, former BBC director general and chancellor of the University of York, will also remain in post.
Lizzie Richards, general manager at York’s Grand Opera House, said: “Really it will be business as usual for us here.
“It’s different compared to when we were taken over by ATG as that was a completely different team, where as now we still have the same management, just different shareholders.
“We look forward to working with Providence Equity to continue running a popular theatre and bring the best shows to York.”
ATG also owned Manchester’s Opera House and Palace Theatre, Grimsby Auditorium, and operated the Liverpool Empire under licence.
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