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Dateline: 25th January, 2005

Sean Combs, aka P.Diddy, aka Puff Daddy
Sean Combs, aka P.Diddy, aka Puff daddy

Hip-Hop Buyer for Lloyd Webber Theatres?

Hard man rapper P.Diddy (aka Puff Daddy, real name Sean Combs) is reported to be interested in buying at least one of the four theatres - the Duchess, Apollo, Garrick and Lyric - which Really Useful Theatres is rumoured to be interested in selling (see last week's story).

He has already, The Times reports, visited the four theatres and his company Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment is "reviewing the figures". It is thought that, should he buy one or more of them, one at least will be turned into a nightclub.

Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment is an international company worth around $250m and includes a record label, music publishing, clothing, two restaurants and a product branding business

Industry reports say that one firm offer for the four theatres has already been received, and the name most mentioned is Clear Channel Entertainment, which already owns thirty theatres nationwide, including, in London, the Apollo Victoria, the Carling Apollo Hammersmith, the Dominion and the Lyceum. MD David Ian has already said that he plans to have six musicals running in the West End at one time in 2005, which has fed the rumours of the company's interest in Lloyd Webber's four theatres.

Other rumoured interested parties are Cameron Mackintosh, the Ambassador Theatre Group and owner of the Vaudeville Theatre Max Weitzenhoffer .

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©Peter Lathan 2005