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Monday, April 19, 1999 Published at 08:28 GMT 09:28 UK


Lloyd-Webber's Really Useful deal

Lord Lloyd-Webber and songwriting partner Sir Tim Rice

Composer Lord Lloyd-Webber will soon have complete ownership of all his musical works for the first time following a multi-million pound deal.

The composer's company, Really Useful Holdings, is paying £47m to buy back the 30% stake in the business held by film and music group Universal.

The deal gives Lloyd-Webber's company full copyright over his musicals, including Cats, Starlight Express, The Phantom of The Opera and Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

He said: "It's the first time in my life I have owned 100% of my own work.

'Independent home for artists'

[ image: The Really Useful Group's logo]
The Really Useful Group's logo
"It's a superb deal. It will make the Really Useful Group unique in the theatre business as both copyright holder and producer of its shows and music, and the company will go forward as a truly independent home for writers, musicians, and all creative artists."

The Really Useful Group was floated on the stock market in 1986. Four years later, Lloyd-Webber took it back into private ownership, selling 30% to film and music group PolyGram to fund the cost of buying back shares.

Last year, PolyGram was bought by Canadian conglomerate Seagram, with the Really Useful Stake being passed to its own film and music subsidiary, Universal.

Under the new deal - funded by a bank loan - Lloyd-Webber will have full ownership of Really Useful, but Universal will still market and distribute the company's back catalogue of records and videos.

Universal Music Group president and chief operating officer Zach Horowitz said: "We are delighted we were able to work out a mutually beneficial arrangement with Lord Lloyd-Webber and we look forward to continuing to be in business with him and to be associated with his classic works."

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