Australian live entertainment and ticketing firm TEG has acquired a minority stake in UK-based Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) to support the theatre firm through the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.

The West End entertainment giant, which owns the Piccadilly and Apollo theatres, will receive £160m from the Silver Lake-owned firm, alongside ATG’s current backer Providence Equity Partners. The latter purchased the company in 2013 in a £350m deal.

The details of the purchase remain unclear, but was said to be a “small minority,” Sky News reports. In June, TEG announced it was looking to invest in UK venues shuttered by COVID-19 as it upped its ambitions in the European market.

ATG, which is one of the biggest employers in the British theatre industry with 4,000 staff, owns many historic theatres in London, including the Lyceum and Savoy, as well as many other famous sites in Britain, Germany and the US, such the Lyric and Hudson on Broadway in New York.

ATG theatres have been home to some of the world’s most successful plays and musicals, including The Lion King, Les Miserables and Wicked.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, live entertainment groups have struggled to cope with the financial pressures of having no audiences since March. Earlier this month, theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber said that theatres are “at the point of no return.”

Last week, ATG revealed it has suspended all of its pantomime productions until 2021 due to ongoing uncertainty. The firm was forced to lay off 1,200 casual staff this month.

TheTicketingBusiness has contacted TEG for comment.

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