Bridgepoint sells theatres back to Lloyd-Webber

Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber has taken full control of a chain of London theatres five years after setting up a 50:50 joint venture with European private equity firm Bridgepoint.

European buyout firm Bridgepoint has sold its 50 percent share of Really Useful Theatres to its joint venture partner, composer Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber, for an undisclosed sum.

Bridgepoint and Lloyd-Webber acquired Stoll Moss Theatres from Heytesbury for £87.5 million (€129 million; $153 million) in 2000, when Bridgepoint was operating as the private equity division of NatWest.

The original transaction was sponsored by Bridgepoint Europe I, an equity fund that closed on €1.5 billion in 1998.

Earlier this year, according to Bridgepoint, a formal process to sell the business was begun, at which point Lloyd-Webber decided to take full control of the theatre group himself.

Following completion of Bridgepoint’s exit, Lloyd-Webber will have 100 percent control over a portfolio of theatres comprising the London Palladium, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Adelphi Theatre, Palace Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre, Cambridge Theatre, New London Theatre and the Gielgud Theatre.

According to a release, Lloyd-Webber will commit £10 million towards a refurbishment programme for the group. The feted composer will also acquire Nottingham and London-based See Tickets, the ticketing arm of Really Useful Theatres.

For Bridgepoint, the agreement with Lloyd-Webber concludes its foray into the theatre sector. In July of this year, the firm sold its stake in the four playhouse theatres in the Really Useful portfolio – the Apollo, the Duchess, the Lyric and the Garrick – to producer Nica Burns and US entrepreneur and producer Max Weitzenhoffer for an undisclosed amount.