Hammersmith Apollo in London sold by HMV to Stage C

The Beatles
Image caption The Beatles, David Bowie and Kylie Minogue have all played at the venue

Entertainment venue Hammersmith Apollo which has held concerts by bands from The Beatles to Queen, has been sold by its owner HMV.

HMV agreed to sell the west London art deco venue to American-German joint venture Stage C for £32m.

The 5,000-capacity venue was taken over by entertainment retailer HMV in 2010.

HMV chief Simon Fox said: "The Hammersmith Apollo is an iconic London venue and it has been a privilege to own it over the last three years."

The venue opened in 1932 as the Gaumont Palace cinema, as part of a wider turnaround.

It has played host to many famous performances, including David Bowie's last concert as alter-ego Ziggy Stardust in 1973.

It is also the eponymous venue in the BBC stand-up comedy series Live at the Apollo.

Stage C is jointly owned by London's indigO2 operator Ansco Music Club, a subsidiary of US company Anschutz Entertainment, and a subsidiary of Munich-based CTS Eventim.

The sale is conditional on banking approvals, shareholder approval and Stage C securing regulatory approvals.

With 252 stores in the UK, HMV said the sale allowed it to focus on its core retail business, while the proceeds from the disposal would be used to reduce the group's outstanding debt.

The sale follows a decision to place its HMV Live division, which runs 13 venues and a number of festivals including Lovebox in London and Global Gathering near Stratford-upon-Avon, under review.

The entertainment retailer recently surprised the City by forecasting a return to profit in 2013 despite estimated losses of about £19m for the past financial year.

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