Michael Ovitz seems determined to remake himself as a theatre mogul. The former Hollywood agent and power broker, who in April was brought in as president of Livent Inc., has reportedly been considering buying a 30 percent stake in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Company.
The stake was previously owned by the Dutch music and film giant Polygram, which was bought out on May 21 by the Canadian company Seagram. Ovitz is anticipating Seagram's likely sale of the Really Useful stake.
A London spokesman for Really Useful, who asked not to be identified, told Playbill On-Line that the stories about Ovitz "had come out of nothing," and that he had not heard anything about the former Disney executive's interest. He also pointed out that Lloyd Webber, who owns the remaining 70 percent stake in Really Useful, has a "legal preemption right" to the other 30 percent. That means that, should Seagram choose to unload the stake, the composer would be given the first chance to buy it, and, if declining, would be informed as to its purchaser.
Ovitz will take formal control of Livent this June. He will put up $20 million to purchase 2.5 million shares in the Canadian theatrical production company, and effectively control a 36 percent voting block on Livent's board. The move will put him in direct competition with his 42nd Street neighbor and former employer, Disney.
A spokesman at Seagram did not return phone calls by press time. -- By Robert Simonson