Upbeat: Useful move

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The Independent Culture
Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's flirtation with the classical music concert agency world is at an end. Two years after his Really Useful Group bought up a sizeable chunk of the Ibbs & Tillett agency to form Artist Management International, that enterprise is now to be sold off to Lies Askonas Ltd, one of Europe's foremost managements for singers. AMI's Mark Hildrew and Christa Phelps will continue to represent both instrumentalists and singers. Cynics have long predicted that RUG's interest in its AMI subsidiary would dribble away as soon as it became clear that the rewards involved in concert agency work are paltry compared to a Broadway run of Cats or Evita. RUG chief executive Patrick McKenna denies that AMI was given the elbow. 'We would have been quite happy for AMI to remain with us - it has always been in profit. This was just a question of a good opportunity coming along.'

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