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Monday, 20 August, 2001, 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
Mean Fiddler eyes global expansion
Jazz Cafe, London
Mean Fiddler owns some of London's best known venues including the Jazz Cafe, the live entertainment and music publishing company, will try to take over its parent Mean Fiddler Holdings on Monday for 33.5m ($46.9m) in a reverse takeover designed to bring the parent company onto the stock market.

Mean Fiddler ventures & venues
Jazz Cafe
London Astoria
the Garage
Reading/Leeds festival
Mean Fiddler
the Forum
Power's Bar
Jam in the Park
Gig on the Green
ION bar
The extraordinary general meeting is expected to approve the deal as well as a share issue to fund it.

Mean Fiddler owns some of the best known venues in London, including the Astoria and the Jazz Cafe along with the Mean Fiddler itself, and, since last week, Home. was spun off and floated on the Alternative Investment Market (Aim) in May 2000. The enlarged group will be renamed Mean Fiddler Music Group.

Last week Mean Fiddler teamed up with Peter Dyer, owner of the Hanover Grand club in the West End, to buy Home, a eight-storey mega club on Leicester Square in London, and 20 other clubs, hotels, restaurants and bars in receivership.

Clubbing international

The company is planning to expand its entertainment empire with festivals and branded venues across Europe and the US as well as launching a digital television channel within the next two years.

Mean Fiddler has the exclusive rights for digital and online broadcasts of live performances from its venues and festivals such as Reading, Creamfields and Tribal Gathering.

A sound system at Jam in the Park
Mean Fiddler is well established on the live music scene

"It is really the festival side of the business that I think is exciting for an investor," says Catherine Bond from stock brokers Seymour Pierce.

"This is because there is a massive opportunity for the business to grow into new European markets."

Mean Fiddler said it would fund the acquisition with the issue of 47.8 million shares.

Ticket to ride

"We hope to raise up to 10m and out of that we will expand and develop some of the brands we have.

"It would be interesting to put the brands in Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Frankfurt, it is all about how much you want to do really," said Vince Power, the private owner of the group.

The company intends to list the whole group on Aim and hopes that the share offer will generate the revenue needed to exploit the business's potential.

The reverse takeover will end 19 years of private ownership of Mean Fiddler Holdings. More than 60% of the shares of the original group are controlled by Mr Power, his son Maurice and Melvin Benn, executive director of the group.

Home base

Mean Fiddler and Peter Dyer, working under the name Finlaw 279, last week agreed to acquire Big Beat, which went into receivership in April after police raids on Home over allegations of drug dealing shut down the venue.

Finlaw paid 18.5m for the Big Beat and awarded Mean Fiddler the contract to manage the venues.

Big Beat was set up by Ron McCulloch, the Scottish nightclub owner, who spent about 10m fitting out Home to be London's top club when it opened in October 1999.

The BBC's Marcia Hughes reports
"Share offer will generate the revenue needed to exploit the business' potential."
See also:

13 Jul 01 | Business
Music empire to launch TV channel
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