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ATG expands further into U.S. with acquisition of Ace Theatrical Group

Posted: 01 September 2015
ATG expands further into U.S. with acquisition of Ace Theatrical Group

Approved by ATG's PR & Communications Officer, David Bradbury 

Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) - the world's number one live-theatre company with over 40 venues - has signed a deal to acquire ACE Theatrical Group (ACE), a company which specialises in the operation, design, development and construction of world class, live performance venues throughout North America. This brings the total number of ATG venues to 45 in the UK, Australia and North America, including the two biggest theatrical markets - Broadway and London's West End.

ACE's impressive portfolio of large-scale theatrical venues comprises:

The Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York

The Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, Louisiana

The Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts in New Orleans, Louisiana

The Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas

The Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in San Antonio, Texas

ACE's interest in the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land in Sugar Land, Texas will not be assigned as a part of this transaction.

The highly regarded existing ACE management team will remain with the business.

Topping the prestigious Sunday Times International Track 200 in July 2015, ATG is now expanding its footprint in the U.S. as part of the company's ambitious strategy around international expansion.

This announcement comes after ATG's first U.S. acquisition, The Lyric Theatre - Broadway's largest theatrical venue - which re-opened its doors in dramatic style in 2014 following extensive refurbishment, to welcome audiences to the acclaimed Broadway revival of On the Town.The Lyric Theatre has recently been announced as the home for Cirque du Soleil's first ever Broadway production, i>Paramour, which will begin performances on April 16, 2016.

Regarding the acquisition, in a joint statement, ATG's CEO's, Sir Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire OBE, said: 'Our international vision is to roll out our unique fully-integrated business model globally - expanding further throughout North America and into other territories worldwide.  The acquisition of ACE presents us with a superb opportunity to work with old friends to help develop that vision. ACE is a team that we know shares ATG's ethos, ambition and absolute passion for live theatre. We look forward to welcoming David Anderson and his colleagues to the ATG family'

Chairman of ACE Theatrical Group, Allen Becker, said: 'I have known Howard, Rosemary and the ATG family for more than 20 years, and have invested in their company on two separate occasions. They have built a very successful business, and I am proud that they think enough of ACE and our staff to want us to join them. I believe there will be a great future in store for the combined companies, and look forward to watching their success!'

ACE Theatrical Group CEO, David Anderson, said: 'ATG is the industry leader in the live theatre business, combining quality, creativity, and growth initiatives around the globe. We are proud that Sir Howard and Lady Rosemary have asked us to become a part of their winning team, and look forward to continuing to build ACE's success under the ATG umbrella. All of us at ACE are very excited to be joining the ATG family!'

ATG's Executive Director, David Lazar, added: 'The Becker family, including legendary patriarch Allen Becker, along with David Anderson and their partners at ACE, had the great vision to bring new life to some of the most important historic theatres across America.  We are thrilled to continue their great legacy of bringing the best of theatre, music, comedy, and dance to New Orleans, San Antonio and now to the beautifully restored Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.'

An active award winning producer on Broadway, London's West End, and globally, ATG and its partner company, Sonia Friedman Productions, have produced the following recent productions on Broadway: Constellations (starring Jake Gyllenhall & Ruth Wilson), The River (starring Hugh Jackman), Twelfth Night/Richard III (starring Mark Rylance), The Mountaintop (starring Samuel L. Jackson & Angela Bassett), Exit the King (starring Geoffrey Rush & Susan Sarandon), Jerusalem,Arcadia, La Bete, La Cage aux Folles, and Sweeney Todd (John Doyle dir.) to name a few.
Already a huge hit in New York, ATG's co-venture of Lincoln Center Theatre's production of The King and I collected four Tony Awards in 2015 including Best Revival of a Musical.

About ACE Theatrical Venues

The Kings Theatre has undergone a $95 million renovation to convert the spectacular, gilded movie palace into a state-of-the-art performing arts facility. Brooklyn's largest indoor theatre with 3,072 seats, the fourth largest in New York City, reopened in February 2015.

Built in 1927 in the Italian Renaissance style, the Saenger Theatre hosts touring Broadway performances and major headlining musicals. Following Hurricane Katrina, the Saenger became the focus of a $53 million redevelopment project, restoring the original 1927 design. The 2,613 seat venue reopened in 2013.

The 2,264 seat Majestic Theatre was built in 1929 and is home to the Broadway in San Antonio series, along with a wide variety of concerts and performing arts attractions.

The 2,153 seat Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts underwent a $30 million refurbishment following Hurricane Katrina. The theatre is home to the New Orleans Opera Association, the New Orleans Ballet Association, and a wide variety of performing arts attractions.

The Empire Theatre was built in 1913, operating first as a vaudeville house and then a motion picture theatre. Following a $5 million renovation, the venue reopened in 1998 as the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre. The 856 seat Empire is home to a wide variety of programming.

The Kings, Saenger and Empire theatres are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Majestic Theatre is a National Historic Landmark.

ATG is majority owned by Providence Equity Partners, the world's leading global private equity firm focused on equity investments in media, communications, education, and information companies. The firm manages funds with over $40 billion in commitments and has invested in more than 140 companies globally since its inception in 1989. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI and also has offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, and New Delhi. Visit for more information.

Lisbeth R. Barron and Berenson & Company LLC acted as exclusive financial advisors to ATG in the transaction.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Final closing of the transaction will take place in mid September.

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