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ATG owner buys into West End marketing agency AKA

Adam Kenwright. Photo: Craig Sugden
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Leading theatre marketing agency AKA has been sold to the owner of Ambassador Theatre Group, The Stage understands.

ATG’s majority stakeholder Providence has confirmed it has made a major investment in AKA, the market leader in West End theatre marketing founded by Adam Kenwright. While details of the deal have not been disclosed, sources told The Stage that Providence has taken a controlling stake in the company.

AKA confirmed that it had “secured investment” from Providence, and said Kenwright would remain both the company’s chief executive and chairman.

In a statement, the company added: “AKA will continue to operate as a third-party marketing agency, retaining its brand identity.”

However, the deal has been questioned by some within the sector, who claim marketing should be completely independent of theatre companies.

A leading West End producer, who did not want to be named, told The Stage he did not think the sale was good news for producers or ticket agents.

He said: “As the owners of ATG, it is of some concern that Providence are also now taking a controlling interest in AKA. You really want your marketing agency to be independent, and to operate on a level playing field, and that has just changed.”

Since being sold to private equity firm Providence in 2013, ATG has considerably expanded its international presence, with the recent purchase of its second Broadway venue and earlier takeover of five theatres across the US.

It is currently unclear whether Providence’s new investment will mark a closer working relationship between AKA and ATG.

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