RUG accounts reveal Lloyd Webber sold Palace for £20m

Nica Burns (left) with Max Weitzenhoffer (right) with Andrew Lloyd Webber (centre) at London's Palace Theatre in 2012. Photo: Marc Murphy
by -

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group sold the Palace Theatre to Nimax Theatres for about £20 million in 2012, the company’s accounts have revealed.

At the time of the sale, RUG declined to reveal how much it had sold the West End venue for. However, accounts just filed with Companies House reveal that the Palace was valued at just over £20 million prior to the sale, while net proceeds from the sale are recorded as £18.2 million. The annual report for Really Useful Investments Limited, RUG’s holding company, say that “in 2012, the group paid down £20 million” of a loan from Bank of Scotland “post the sale of the Palace Theatre London”, indicating that RUG had used the proceeds of the sale to pay back part of its loan.

In its last full accounts for 2010/11, the Palace recorded an annual profit after tax of £875,877 on a turnover of £15.7 million. Its profits after tax in 2009/10 had been £1.1 million.

In 2010, an aborted deal to sell the Palace – along with three other West End theatres – to a consortium led by former BBC and ITV chairman Michael Grade valued the four theatres at £50 million. Meanwhile, in 2005, RUG sold its four West End playhouses – the Lyric, Garrick, Apollo and Duchess – to Nimax Theatres for £11.5 million.

The estimated price of the sale would seem to point to the increasing commercial value of West End theatre property. At £20 million with 1,400 seats, the Palace was valued at around £14,000 per seat. This compares to around £10,000 per seat in the aborted 2010 Michael Grade purchase, or around £3,000 per seat when Nimax bought four playhouses in 2005. Lloyd Webber bought the Palace Theatre for £1.3 million in 1983.