Speculation about the possible sale of the Stoll Moss theatre chain in London continued anew with unconfirmed reports from the UK that the Shubert Organization was leading the pack of possible investors who were interested in purchasing the theatre chain. Also mentioned as potential suitors for Stoll Moss were SFX Entertainment, as well as Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group, and a consortium comprising Sir Michael Grade and Peter Holmes a Court, eldest son of Janet Holmes a Court, Stoll Moss' present owner.
None of the reports could be confirmed.
While neither the Shuberts nor Pace Theatrical returned calls by press time, a spokesperson from Pace's parent group, SFX Entertainment, downplayed the UK reports.
"We don't really comment on this type of story," the spokesperson told Playbill On-Line. "It's come up several times before and the story has been beaten down into the dirt." One rumor pointed to an SFX strategy of "waiting in the wings" in order to duck any unwelcome referral by monopoly watchdogs to Britain's Competition Commission.
Even so, SFX is now said to be one step closer to a Stoll Moss purchase, the report went, because it's own Pace Theatrical has recently sold off a 25 percent share in UK's Ambassador Group. A spokesperson for Britain's Competition Commission told Playbill On Line that it was not currently investigating anything to do with the theatre industry and that the commission cannot instigate actions on it's own -- requests must come from outside the agency.
-- By Murdoch McBride