Clear Channel was seen as a front-runner, and several theatre columnists voiced fear that the venues might be sold to an American corporation (Lloyd Webber's victory in the bidding process was greeted with much delight). Now that some of the group could be back on the market, the newspapers are full of speculation as to new potential landlords. As well as Clear Channel and some other usual suspects, one far from obvious name has emerged — the rap mogul P. Diddy. P. Diddy, aka Sean Combs, appeared on Broadway last season in A Raisin in The Sun and is reportedly keen to expand his theatre interests. According to the London Times, Combs will throw his hat in the ring should Lloyd Webber decide to sell The Duchess, Apollo, Garrick and Lyric theatres (as previously reported, he has received interest in the quartet, and is mulling his options). Combs' accountants are said to have already examined the venues' balance sheets.
However, The Times speculates that the rapster may be planning to turn the theatres into nightclubs. Something that Clear Channel, which already owns the Lyceum (where Disney's The Lion King has safely played for years), has no apparent plans to do.