Wembley sells half of Pacer to Ticketmaster

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WEMBLEY, which is under orders from its banks to sell pounds 40m of assets by the end of next month, yesterday sold half of its Pacer CATS Companies for pounds 11m cash to Ticketmaster Corporation of the US.

Ticketmaster's and Wembley's half-shares in Pacer will form a joint venture to sell computerised ticketing and concession systems for cinemas, stadiums, arenas and amusement parks. The venture will also assume Pacer's debt of pounds 6m.

But while the deal will reduce Wembley's borrowings by pounds 17m, the company will have to write off up to pounds 25m in goodwill on its profit- and-loss account. Wembley's depressed share price stayed at 15p.

At the end of last June, Wembley had debts of pounds 140m - equal to gearing of 80 per cent. The Pacer deal lifts the amount raised from disposals to about pounds 37m.

Wembley had been looking to sell all of Pacer. 'The best offer we had was for half. It was the most sensible offer to go for,' Nigel Potter, finance director, said.

'The deal will also allow us to benefit in the upside of this business,' he said. In 1992 Pacer made taxable profits of pounds 1.2m on pounds 11.5m of sales.

Wembley also announced that Sir Peter Thompson, chairman of the audit committee, had been appointed non-executive deputy chairman of the group.