Key Brand pays $90m for Broadway touring company

Theater-focussed investment firm Key Brand Entertainment will bring Broadway shows to more cities in the US, Canada and Japan.

Key Brand Entertainment, a US firm that invests in enterprises related to live theater, has paid $90.4 million (€61.2 million) to acquire the North American operations of Live Nation, the parent company of Broadway Across America and Broadway Across Canada.

Broadway musical
'Wicked'

The company produces national touring theatrical productions of shows such as Wicked and The Lion King, and also owns eight venues including Boston’s Colonial Theater and Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theater. The acquisition also includes Live Nation’s family entertainment producing division, which owns children’s show Dora the Explorer, among others.

“We are extremely pleased to be acquiring one of the theatrical industry’s most powerful franchises and look forward to providing the financial and management stability needed to grow this company into the future,” Key Brand chief executive John Gore said in a statement.

Key Brand has installed several high profile executives to run the company, including Peter Schneider, former head of Walt Disney Theatrical, and Beth Williams, former Clear Channel Entertainment president of theatrical production.

Key Brand has also partnered with Canadian theater producer Dancap Productions and Japanese television network Tokyo Broadcasting System in order to access the Canadian and Japanese markets for live theater.

Producer and director Gore founded Key Brand in 2005 to handle his shareholdings in the Andrew Lloyd Webber catalog of shows. He runs the firm with chairman Thomas McGrath, who is also currently senior managing director of Crossroads Media, a private equity-backed vehicle for acquisitions and investments in the entertainment industry, and executive chairman of Bug/Windswept Music, an independent music publisher.