Music group EMI has said it is not considering selling London's Abbey Road studios, according to various media outlets today. EMI released a statement saying the studios, made famous by a Beatles album, should stay under its ownership. EMI, which counts Robbie Williams and Coldplay among its artists, posted a £1.75bn loss for the year to March 2009 in accounts earlier this month.
EMI had been courting bidders for the property in St John's Wood, which it bought in 1929 for £100,000 and turned into one of the world's first custom-built recording studios, but have gone back on the decision. A sale could have raised tens of millions of pounds for the music group, which is looking to reduce the burden of debt following the 2007 buy-out by Terra Firma.
The firm added it had rejected a offer for the historic building last year and was working with "third parties" about funding a "revitalisation project" instead. It ends days of speculation after it was reported that struggling EMI would sell Abbey Road to ease debts. The reports led to Facebook campaigns to try to save it, the National Trust said it would look into buying the property and even composer Andrew Lloyd Webber expressed an interest in owning the studio.
However, on Sunday EMI said that while it was looking for an investor in the site, based at 3 Abbey Road in St John's Wood, it was not looking for a buyer. "In response to recent press speculation, EMI confirms that it is holding preliminary discussions for the revitalisation of Abbey Road with interested and appropriate third parties," the company said. "Abbey Road studios had, for a number of years, been losing money and we have developed plans to revitalise the studios. These plans would involve a substantial injection of new capital."
The company said it also welcomed reports that English Heritage was accelerating plans to list the site, and said it had been holding discussions over the regeneration plans since November. It added: "In mid-2009, we did receive an offer to buy Abbey Road for in excess of £30m but this was rejected since we believe that Abbey Road should remain in EMI's ownership."
The Beatles used Abbey Road for 90% of their recordings, naming an album after the studios in 1969. EMI bought the property for £100,000 in 1929, transforming it into the world-famous studios that have hosted artists as diverse as composer Sir Edward Elgar in 1931, to Pink Floyd and Blur.
Back in 2006, Abbey Road studios were threatened with prosecution over a Coldplay gig it hosted for the BBC. The recording studio was threatened with prosecution four years ago under new licensing laws because it hosted an "illegal" gig organised by the broadcasting corporation. Lawyers from Westminster Council claimed the Coldplay concert, which was aired on Radio 2 in April 2006, was the first live music event to break the law since it came into force in November 2005.
Abbey Road Studios in London
Chris Martin attends the London Evening Standard British Film Awards (9th February 2010):
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