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Ambassador Theatre Group Acquires Theaters in San Francisco and Detroit

Stage Directions • Industry News • 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), 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 Misérables, West Side Story, Chicago, Rent, The Book Of Mormon, Phantom of The Opera, and many more.

The Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco, CA

The Golden Gate Theatre was built in 1922 and has a venue capacity of approximately 2,300 seats. It is 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.

“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,” Mark Cornell, CEO of ATG, said. “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.”

The Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco, CA

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.”

“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.” said Andrew Tisdale, Senior Managing Director at Providence Equity Partners.

The Fisher Theatre in Detroit, MI

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.

 

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