ATG buys ACE for place in US market

Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), the UK’s largest live theatre company, has bought North America’s ACE Theatrical Group (ACE). The acquisition adds five theatres to ATG’s portfolio for a total of 45.

The ACE venues are: the Kings Theatre, Brooklyn; the Saenger Theatre, New Orleans; the Mahalia Jackson Theatre for the Performing Arts, New Orleans; the Majestic Theatre, San Antonio; and the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre, San Antonio.

This marks ATG’s second foray into the North American market, having purchased the Lyric Theatre – Broadway’s second largest – in 2013. The Lyric reopened in 2014 after a USD600,000 (€538,500) refit, and will host Cirque du Soleil’s first ever Broadway production, Paramour in 2016.

‘Our international vision is to roll out our unique fully-integrated business model globally – expanding further throughout North America and into other territories worldwide,’ said ATG CEOs Sir Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire in a joint statement. ATG has confirmed that the existing ACE management structure will remain in place, with David Anderson continuing as CEO.

In partnership with Sonia Friedman Productions ATG has created a number of award-winning shows, including The River (starring Hugh Jackman), The Mountaintop (starring Samuel L. Jackson) and a revival of The King & I (starring Kelli O’Hara). The purchase gives ACE access to ATG’s portfolio of work, and raises the possibility of productions crossing the Atlantic to appear before American audiences.

ACE’s interest in the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land, Texas, is not included in the purchase. The deal will be completed in mid-September, though the terms have not been disclosed.