Co-founder Peter Beckwith sells stake in Ambassador Theatre Group
Jim Armitage is the City editor of The Independent and London Evening Standard group of newspapers. He has been a reporter and editor for more than 20 years and was recently shortlisted for the Press Gazette financial journalist of the year and The Society of Editors financial journalist of the year awards. He contributes news, investigative reports and comment to the Independent titles plus a daily column in the Evening Standard.
Monday 21 October 2013
Property tycoon Peter Beckwith, father of the socialite Tamara, has sold his stake in the world’s biggest live theatre company, Ambassador Theatre Group, which he co-founded more than 20 years ago.
Mr Beckwith sold his minority stake in the business to US private equity firm Providence Equity Partners as part of a deal valuing the entire company at about £250m, taking his personal profits from the business to several millions of pounds. He is now quitting.
ATG takes in 40 theatres across the UK and on Broadway and its productions include current hits like Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Monty Python’s Spamalot as well as Macbeth starring James McAvoy and The Hothouse starring Simon Russell Beale and John Simm.
But it traces its history back to the early 1990s when Mr Beckwith’s London & Edinburgh Trust redeveloped Woking town centre. He sold the shopping precinct to foreign investors but was left with the 1200 seat theatre and cultural centre. Mr Beckwith went into business with husband-and-wife team Sir Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire and the trio went on to buy other venues around the country. They particularly transformed ATG in 2009 when, in partnership with Exponent Private Equity, they bought Live Nation’s UK theatres including the Apollo Victoria and Lyceum in London, homes to Lion King and Wicked.
“I have done very well out of an accident that turned out to be immensely successful and is now growing like topsy,” Mr Beckwith said. “It has been fantastic fun, meeting wonderful people and I am sad to leave it, but I have not really got so much to offer now. The future growth lies in Australia, Hong Kong, China, where I don’t really have any business these days.”
He added: “What’s been so wonderful about the experience is that it has allowed me, a boy who didn’t even act in school, to take part in a great world I would never have known otherwise. Before we started, I could have written all I know about the theatre on the back of an envelope, really, but now I’ve met most of the leading performers and directors in the West End.”
Exponent retains a minority stake in ATG and Sir Howard and Ms Squire will continue heading the management team. Former BBC director general Greg Dyke will continue as chairman.
- 2 Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
- 3 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
- 4 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
Ireland gay marriage vote: 'No' campaign appears to concede amid reports of 'yes' landslide victory
Maryland mother found pushing her dead child on a swing in a playground
Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...