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.
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...