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Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group has agreed to sell four of its West End theatres - New London, Palace, Cambridge and Her Majesty's Theatres- for what is believed to be in the region of £50 million - to a consortium led by former BBC and ITV chairman Michael Grade. Final contracts are expected to be signed by January 2011.
After the sale, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, will only own two West End theatres outright - Theatre Royal Drury Lane and London Palladium, and 50% ownership in the Adelphi Theatre, which is co-owned with US company Nederlander.
Andrew Lloyd Webber statement says "It has been a totally gut-wrenching decision for me to decide to sell the four theatres. However, following my illness (prostate cancer) last year, I was advised to reduce the debt in the family company. It is particularly difficult for me as the New London was Cats’ home for 21 years. For nearly 25 years Her Majesty’s has been and still is the home of The Phantom of the Opera..."
The Really Useful Group statement says the proceeds of the sale will be used to continue to invest in and develop the Palladium and the Theatre Royal Drury Lane as well as reducing the Group’s debt.