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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 October, 2004, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Mean Fiddler ditches new boss
The Darkness play Reading Festival '04
Mean Fiddler organises the popular Reading Festival
Shares in music promoter Mean Fiddler have plunged on news that it has ousted its new chief executive Dean James.

Richard Clingen, who was due to become chairman, is no longer joining the board as Mean Fiddler has pulled out of buying his Media Internet Telecom firm.

Instead, Mean Fiddler founder Vince Power is staying as chairman and the firm is hunting for a chief executive.

Mr Power had said he would be stepping down from the company, which organises the Reading Festival.

Mean Fiddler shares fell 11p to 42.5p after the news.

'Business as usual'

The company, which also sells tickets for concerts featuring artists such as The Darkness and Beyonce, said Mr James had been "regrettably" removed from the board "with immediate effect".

Life is back to normal at Mean Fiddler with Power in the driving seat
Mean Fiddler spokesman

Mean Fiddler has also suspended the sale of new shares, through which the loss-making music promoter had planned to pay for MIT.

Mean Fiddler gave no reason for its decision to scrap the MIT purchase, saying merely that the deal "will not be completed".

"Life is back to normal at Mean Fiddler with Power in the driving seat," a spokesman for the company told BBC News Online. He declined to comment on Mean Fiddler's current or future strategy.

Although Mean Fiddler remained tight-lipped on the subject, rumours were circulating that Mr James' departure followed a row between himself and the board.

'Breach'

One music industry analyst told BBC News Online that "someone must have been in breach of something".

MEAN FIDDLER VENTURES
London Astoria - Mean Fiddler venue
Venues - Astoria, G-A-Y, Jazz Cafe, Forum, Garage, Borderline
Interest in Shepherd's Bush Empire and Brixton Academy after deal with Irish promoter MCD last year
Festivals - Leeds, Reading, Homelands, Finsbury Park Fleadh
Festival stakes - 40% of Glastonbury; share in V Festival after MCD deal.
Promotes concert tours including Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Travis

The analyst believed there was "every chance they could get the (MIT) deal back on track" as Mean Fiddler's "business and prospects were well liked in the City, provided it gets it right."

It had been hoped that the MIT deal would see Mean Fiddler widen its internet music service, set up in March in an effort to rival to music download sites iTunes and Napster.

The takeover of MIT - whose sole shareholder is Mr Clingen - was to have been funded by a placing of 10.2 million new shares in Mean Fiddler and the sale of 34.7 million existing ones.

The share sale could have netted Mr Power 11.8m as he was due to sell his entire 35% stake in the group.

However the placing and share sale will not now go ahead.

It also appears that the firm has also axed its broker and adviser Evolution Securities.

Losses

Mean Fiddler became part of an Aim-listed company in 2001 and has built up losses of 12.6m since then.

It posted an operating loss of 500,000 in its most recent interim results.

After founding the original Mean Fiddler club in North London in 1982, Mr Power now has almost all key London music venues - from the Astoria to the Jazz Cafe - and UK festivals under the company's banner.

Mean Fiddler runs the Reading and Leeds Festivals, Homelands and also has a 40% stake in the Glastonbury Festival.




SEE ALSO:
iTunes under fire over UK pricing
15 Sep 04  |  Business
Pop music sales boost Bertelsmann
08 Sep 04  |  Business
Festival row boss meets Fiddler
20 Aug 04  |  Berkshire
Mean Fiddler losses grow
01 Jul 03  |  Entertainment
Festival firm plans download site
22 Mar 04  |  Entertainment
Sony and BMG merger faces probe
12 Feb 04  |  Business


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