Music group buys into G-A-Y bars

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The MAMA group, owners of the Barfly music venue chain and the management company of top British bands such as the Kaiser Chiefs, has purchased a major stake in the G-A-Y bars.

Reuters reports that MAMA now own 75% of the shares in Manto Soho Limited (MSL), a company which operates the G-A-Y bar and G-A-Y Late club in London.

Jeremy Joseph retains ownership of the G-A-Y brand and will continue to host live acts and other nights at London’s Astoria.

It it is thought that today’s deal will see expansion of the G-A-Y bars outside London.

MAMA are well-respected for their ability to expand companies.

The deal, worth £6m, also sees MAMA buy Jazz Café, The Borderline, the Garage and other former Mean Fiddler venues.

Reuters reports they paid £3.75m for a 75% stake in Manto Soho Ltd.

Jeremy Joseph refused to comment on the exact nature of the deal or the percentage purchased by MAMA, saying only that the Reuters figure is incorrect.

He told that he was excited about working with MAMA and there are major plans on the horizon.

“It’s a very complicated deal but I retain complete control of the G-A-Y brand. The deal is giving the G-A-Y bars the opportunity to expand,” he said.

“We have two major plans – so wait and see! If it all happens there will be some nice surprises so fingers crossed – in six weeks time all will be revealed.”

Adam Driscoll and Dean James, Co-Chief Executives of MAMA commented:

“The combination of Barfly, Mean Fiddler, Jazz Café, G-A-Y and recently acquired venues, The Forum and Hammersmith Apollo, represents one of the leading live music businesses in the country and is a perfect platform for future growth.

“The G-A-Y businesses form a key part of gay nightlife in London and we are delighted to be working with Jeremy Joseph, as our prospective partner and co shareholder in Manto Soho Limited, the company which operates G-A-Y.

“We believe that the G-A-Y brand is exceptionally strong and can be extended into other cities and, potentially, other business models.”

MAMA’s business activites include the Barfly network of live music venues, artist services, which includes artist and producer management, music publishing, merchandising and investments in recording businesses, The Fly, one of the UK’s widest distributed music magazines, the Campus Group, a collection of specialist media and marketing agencies working for clients interested in the student and wider youth audiences and a ticketing business.