INTERNATIONAL ENTERTAINMENT HOLDINGS LIMITED SET TO ACQUIRE LEADING U.S. REGIONAL THEATRES IN SAN FRANCISCO AND DETROIT
Transaction Sees Ambassador Theatre Group Acquiring the Iconic Golden Gate Theatre and Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco and the Fisher Theatre in Detroit
LONDON AND DETROIT, MICHIGAN – March 22, 2021– International Entertainment Holdings Limited (“IEHL”), the parent company of The Ambassador Theatre Group (“ATG”), a leading live-theatre and ticketing organization, and The Nederlander Company, LLC (“Nederlander”), today announced the pending acquisition by IEHL of the iconic Golden Gate Theatre and Orpheum Theatre, both in San Francisco, and the Fisher Theatre in Detroit, as well as its programming operation of the Detroit Opera House and Music Hall in Detroit. Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is scheduled to close on March 29, 2021.
San Francisco and Detroit are two of the top touring cities for Broadway shows in the United States, and Nederlander has overseen the operation of its historic owned theatres for more than 50 years. Nederlander is also the exclusive promoter and presenter of Broadway touring and other theatrical productions at the Detroit Opera House and the Music Hall. The venues have been home to some of the most successful Broadway shows in their respective locations by number of attendees for musicals and dramatic theatre. Such shows have included the world premieres of Hello Dolly, Fiddler On The Roof, The Gay Life, No Strings, BIG, Movin’ Out, the US premiere of Love Never Dies, as well as the biggest Broadway tours such as Hamilton, Wicked, Les Miserables, West Side Story, Chicago, Rent, The Book Of Mormon, Phantom of The Opera, and many more.
The Golden Gate Theatre was built in 1922 and has a venue capacity of approximately 2,300 seats. It is in part of the Market Street Theatre and Loft District which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Orpheum Theatre was built in 1926 and has a venue capacity of 2,200 seats, and is designated as a Historical Landmark. The Fisher Theatre was built in 1928, and renovated into a legitimate Broadway touring house under the management of the Nederlanders in 1961. It currently has a venue capacity of approximately 2,100 seats, and is also designated a National Historic Landmark. The Detroit Opera House was built in 1922 and has a venue capacity of approximately 2,750 seats. It also hosts the principal opera company in Michigan. The Music Hall was built in 1928, has a seating capacity of 1,700, and is home to a wide range of performing arts and education including dance and music. It is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mark Cornell, CEO of ATG, said: “This extraordinary portfolio of venues located in San Francisco and Detroit, two of America’s key theatrical touring cities, is comprised of precious assets and we are delighted to be taking over their stewardship. We look forward to providing the best of Broadway’s shows to their loyal following when the theatres re-open in 2021 and are equally excited to welcome the staff of these prestigious theatres into the ATG community, where we hope that they will thrive and be happy. ATG congratulates Robert Nederlander Sr. and his management team on many decades of success.”
Robert Nederlander Sr. stated: “These unique venues have been home to Broadway’s greatest shows, serving local and regional audiences for generations. We are confident that the ATG team will continue to look after the strong foundation that we have created with these theatres in their respective communities and to take them into this next decade with great success.”
Andrew Tisdale, Senior Managing Director at Providence Equity Partners, said: “Our continued support of and investment in ATG, and in these venues, reflects our deep conviction in the value of live theatre. The Nederlander family has a long history of promoting the best in live entertainment and we are excited to be bringing these wonderful venues and venue teams into the ATG family. We want to continue to expand ATG’s presence in the United States and know that audiences in San Francisco and Detroit will enjoy for many years the high quality programming that ATG will help bring to these landmark venues.”
The transaction was initiated by Lisbeth R. Barron, whose firm Barron International Group, LLC was the exclusive financial advisor to Nederlander. The legal advisors to Nederlander were Skadden, Arps, Slate,Meagher, & Flom LLP and Dykema Gossett PLLC. FTI Consulting served as ATG’s financial advisor and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Foley & Lardner LLP were legal advisors to ATG.
About Ambassador Theatre Group:
The Ambassador Theatre Group (“ATG”), a portfolio company of Providence Equity Partners, was founded in the UK in 1992. It is a world leader in live entertainment, covering historic theatres, studio theatres, cinemas, conference spaces, and modern live music arenas. ATG owns and operates 50 of the world’s most iconic venues across the UK, the US, and Germany. It partners with top producers and promoters to stage over 12,000 live performances per year. It also owns a leading ticketing platform in the UK, selling more than 11 million tickets each year. ATGtickets.com attracts more than 40 million unique visitors annually.
ATG Productions works in close partnership with the world’s most acclaimed directors and performers. Its productions include blockbuster musicals, star-led dramas and live music. Since 1990, Sonia Friedman Productions (“SFP”) has developed and staged over 170 new productions and won 55 Olivier Awards, 30 Tony Awards, and 2 BAFTAs. Based in Germany, Mehr BB Entertainment produces across a range of genres including theatre, dance, concerts, and musicals. With over 20 years’ experience, Mehr has a rich history of staging successful productions across mainland Europe and Asia Pacific. ATG is also backed by TEG, which acquired a minority stake in September 2020 to help support ATG’s ongoing global expansion.
About Providence Equity Partners:
Providence Equity Partners (“Providence”) is a premier global private equity firm with over $44 billion in aggregate capital commitments. Providence pioneered a sector-focused approach to private equity investing with the vision that a dedicated team of industry experts could build exceptional companies of enduring value. Since the firm's inception in 1989, Providence has invested in over 170 companies and is a leading equity investment firm focused on the media, communications, education, software and services industries. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI, and also has offices in New York and London. For more information, please visit www.provequity.com.
TEG is a leading live content and ticketing company in the Asia Pacific region, with an integrated live entertainment platform that combines ticketing services, event promotion, venues, data analytics, and marketing solutions. TEG operates as the exclusive ticketing provider for over 135 venue and promoter clients and delivers 30 million tickets annually for over 30,000 events spanning live sports, concerts, theatre, festivals, and exhibitions across more than 13 countries. TEG has promoted some of the world’s biggest names in live sports and entertainment including Hugh Jackman, Guns N’ Roses, Eminem, Katy Perry, Cirque du Soleil, Jerry Seinfeld, the Brazil national football team, and the breakthrough Australian debut of Extreme Masters esports. TEG is backed by Silver Lake, a leading global technology investment firm with extensive experience investing in some of the world’s leading live entertainment & sports companies.
About Barron International Group, LLC:
Barron International Group, LLC is a privately-owned investment banking firm with a globally-focused client base. The firm’s founder, Lisbeth R. Barron, has more than 30 years of experience spearheading in excess of $70 billion in groundbreaking strategic advisory and capital-raising transactions throughout her career in the Media, Entertainment, Leisure, Hospitality, and Branded Consumer Products industries.