Mackintosh Buys Into Two Theaters

Cameron Mackintosh is becoming a theaterowner.

The multi-hit producer is acquiring 20% of two key West End musical venues, the Prince of Wales (1,095 seats) and the Prince Edward (1,577). Both currently are owned by vet showman Lord Bernard Delfont’s First Leisure Corp. The deal, which involves only the two theaters, gives Mackintosh an option to up his joint-venture stake by another 30% within two years.

It’s a logical bet that the next Mackintosh show would book into one of the First Leisure houses. The producer has had his brushes with theater owners; with “Miss Saigon,” he even set up his own concessions venue across the street from the Theater Royal Drury Lane. Mackintosh at one time also reportedly was angling for theaters in other European capitals – including Paris, Vienna and Budapest – but progress on that front has yet to be disclosed.

Mackintosh was unavailable, but in a joint press handout said his interest in the two West End theaters “is both as a longterm business and helping to ensure their healthy continuation as irreplaceable large-scale musical houses” into the next century.

A leading London realtor, Conrad Ritblatt & Co., assessed the joint value of the theaters at £12.5 million ($23.7 million) as of last April.

First Leisure and Mackintosh each will control three seats on the joint venture’s board. Bernard Mills, a longtime Delfont associate, will continue as the theaters’ chairman-chief exec.

Mackintosh and Delfont also have a long relationship. The producer’s maiden West End show, an “Anything Goes” revival, ran at the old Savile Theater, then operated by Delfont.

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