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ATG in talks to take over Stage Entertainment

ATG's Rosemary-Squire and Howard-Panter pictured at The Stage New Year Party 2015. Photo: Alex Brenner ATG's Rosemary-Squire and Howard-Panter pictured at The Stage New Year Party 2015. Photo: Alex Brenner
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Ambassador Theatre Group is in talks to take over European venue operator Stage Entertainment for a reported €500 million (£360 million).

A spokesman for the Netherlands-based entertainment giant confirmed to The Stage that the company was in the process of looking for a stakeholder, and that talks were ongoing.

Stage Entertainment – which was founded by Joop van den Ende, the creator of Big Brother production company Endemol – operates subsidiary companies in Germany, Spain, Russia, Italy, France, the UK and the US.

The spokesman for Stage Entertainment said: “Joop van den Ende, as founder and sole shareholder, has decided to start talking to various parties for a minority share as new shareholders. These talks are ongoing.”

However, he did not rule out the possibility of a new majority shareholder.

The Sunday Times recently claimed that ATG is in an auction for Stage Entertainment, alongside private equity firm CVC, and also reports the estimated figure of €500 million.

The acquisition would be a significant step into the European market for ATG, which owns 39 venues in Britain and on Broadway and as a producer has co-productions across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

When asked about the takeover talks, ATG declined to comment. The company was itself taken over by US company Providence in 2013 for an estimated £400 million. The private equity firm took on a majority stake in the company, leaving previous majority stakeholders Exponent with an 18% share.

Exponent acquired its stake in ATG when it helped finance the group’s £90 million purchase of Live Nation’s UK theatres in 2009 – a deal that led to ATG becoming the biggest player in the UK theatre market.

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