Webber in negotiations to sell theaters

Producer may shed four London venues

Andrew Lloyd Webber and his Really Useful Group company are in exclusive negotiations to sell four of his West End theaters.

Michael Grade, chair of Pinewood Shepperton, former chair of the BBC and former executive chair of ITV, is heading a bid with tenpercenter Michael Linnit and others.

A spokesperson for the Really Useful Group said: “We receive a number of unsolicited approaches and have entered into discussions with Grade Linnit. We have not received an offer that, at this stage, would be acceptable to Really Useful Group or Andrew.”

The houses under discussion are the New London (1,024 seats), Palace (1,390), Cambridge (1,250) and Her Majesty’s (1,216) theaters.

Should the sale go through, the company would still retain its half share in the Adelphi — co-owned with the Nederlander Group — and the so-called crown jewels of the West End: Theater Royal Drury Lane and the London Palladium.

The spokesperson would not confirm the involvement of Really Useful Group chief exec Andre Ptaszynski in the sale. Ptaszynski was widely believed to be quitting the organization next year due to internal strife following the largely negative critical reception accorded to “Phantom” sequel “Love Never Dies.” That show’s New York bow, already postponed once, is now rumoured to be being postponed indefinitely.

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