Dancap Productions Inc.

Dancap Productions Inc.

January 24, 2008 12:24 ET

Dancap Productions Inc.: Key Brand Entertainment, Inc. Acquires Live Nation's North American Theatrical Company

Transaction, Which Includes Broadway Across America and Eight North American Theatre Venues, Will Provide Significant Opportunity to Expand Key Brand's Reach and Offerings Going Forward

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 24, 2008) -

Attention Business and Entertainment Editors

Key Brand Entertainment, Inc., a private investment company dedicated exclusively to the development, production and distribution of live theatre, announced today that it has acquired Live Nation, Inc.'s North American Theatrical Company. (Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.) Key Brand Entertainment is owned and controlled by British theatre producer John Gore and led by entertainment industry veteran Thomas B. McGrath. As part of the acquisition, Key Brand Entertainment will assume control of Broadway Across America, the premier promoter and producer of live theatrical events in the United States, and its Broadway Across Canada division. The deal also includes the acquisition of eight theatre venues across North America including Toronto's Canon and Panasonic Theatres. Toronto based theatre producer Aubrey Dan will manage all of Key Brand Entertainment's Canadian assets. These include what was formerly Live Nation Canada's Theatrical Division, Broadway Across Canada and Toronto's Canon and Panasonic Theatres. Mr. Dan has also agreed to serve on the board of Key Brand Entertainment and as a Chairman of Broadway Across Canada.

Key Brand Entertainment intends to build on the Company's significant expertise and geographic reach to broaden its production platform while simultaneously bringing some of Broadway's biggest hits to an expanded number of cities across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Broadway Across America currently offers the finest national touring theatrical productions, from Wicked to Disney's The Lion King, through its extensive network of more than 40 theatres in the United States and Canada. Last year, the company sold more than 6.4 million tickets as the theatre industry continued its 20-year plus track record of growth.

Mr. McGrath and Mr. Gore, who will lead Key Brand Entertainment as chairman and CEO respectively, both bring significant expertise building successful business enterprises in the entertainment industry and are committed to being personally involved in the company's growth going forward.

"We are extremely pleased to be acquiring one of the theatrical industry's most powerful franchises and look forward to providing the financial and management stability needed to grow this company into the future," Mr. Gore said. "We are dedicated to providing the absolute best in live theatre, and will actively look to acquire intellectual properties that can be developed into full, glorious productions.

"I intend to contribute ardently to the health of this industry on Broadway and in each city where our shows perform," Mr. Gore continued. "We are in the business of creating memories and electrifying experiences that will both invigorate existing theatregoers and help encourage new ones."

"The beauty of this transaction is it brings together people who have an inexhaustible passion for the theatre and those who have decades of experience running large entertainment companies," Mr. McGrath said. "Audiences across the country have shown an increasing appetite for the best theatrical experiences Broadway has to offer, and we are committed to delivering those to them as we reestablish a very active producing division. We are extremely eager to sit down with the top creative talents on Broadway and develop original works that will captivate audiences for years to come. In our increasingly virtual world there is simply no substitute for a live performance."

Dancap Private Equity Inc. is an investor in Key Brand Entertainment. Dancap private Equity Inc. is a Canadian-based principal investment fund led by Aubrey Dan, president. Successful business professional Aubrey Dan and Dancap Productions Inc., a member of the Dancap group of companies, will act as manager for Key Brand Entertainment's Canadian assets. These include Broadway Across Canada, Live Nation Canada's Theatrical Division, and Toronto's Canon and Panasonic Theatres. Aubrey Dan has also agreed to serve as Chairman of Broadway Across Canada after the deal is closed. "Canada's entertainment industry has a rich history of cultivating high calibre talent both on and off stage. As a cornerstone of Canada's entertainment industry, live theatre must continue to provide opportunities for Canadian talent. My involvement in Key Brand Entertainment will ensure that Canadian talent will continue to have opportunities to thrive both at home and away," said Mr. Dan. "Canada is hungry for great Broadway and West End productions that we will continue to provide while making it a priority to showcase the many talented actors, directors, craftspeople, designers and musicians we have in such abundance in Canada."

Tokyo Broadcasting Systems will be Key Brand's Japanese partner going forward. Both Canadian theatres have Japanese corporate sponsors - Canon and Panasonic.

Peter Schneider, former head of Walt Disney Theatrical, has agreed to join the board.

JPMorgan Chase and Aramid Entertainment Fund provided financing to the transaction. Aramid Entertainment Fund is a Cayman Islands-based mezzanine fund that provides liquidity to producers and distributors of entertainment in a variety of asset classes.

Aramid Chairman David Molner was instrumental in structuring the deal and arranging the financing. "I am delighted to have been able to bring together Live Nation and Key Brand in a superior financing structure. John Gore and Tom McGrath are two of the entertainment industry's leading executives and entrepreneurs whom I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with for going on a decade," said Mr. Molner who is the founder and managing director of Screen Capital International. SCI is a leading media finance specialist, involved in all aspects of motion picture finance from gap funding to tax credit discounting and over US$6 billion in executed transactions.

Key Brand Entertainment will be headquartered in New York City. Former Clear Channel Entertainment President of Theatrical Production, Beth Williams, is being named Chief Operating Officer and Head of Production for Key Brand. Steven Winton and David M. Anderson will continue to serve as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer., respectively, of Broadway Across America. There are no current plans to change the Broadway Across America staffing.

With this acquisition, Key Brand Entertainment will include:

- Broadway Across America, the leading presenter of touring live theatre throughout North America. Broadway Across America presents Broadway touring productions in 42 cities in North America and owns, operates and/or manages 8 venues including Boston's Colonial Theatre and Charles Playhouse; Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre; Toronto's Canon Theatre and Panasonic Theatre; and Minneapolis' State Theatre, Orpheum Theatre and Pantages Theatre. The company has over 265,000 annual subscribers, 25 local presentational partners, 35 unique sponsors and 285 full time employees.

- Investments in 13 current and upcoming Broadway productions, 8 current U.S. touring productions and 6 West End and U.K. touring productions.

- Family Entertainment Producing Division currently represented by Dora The Explorer and Go, Diego, Go - Live.


Aubrey Dan, 44, is President and Founder of Dancap Private Equity Inc. and Dancap Global Asset Management (www.dancap.ca) both companies invest funds in diverse businesses around the globe. In 2007, Mr. Dan launched Dancap Productions Inc. (www.dancaptickets.com), a commercial theatre company dedicated to producing the best of Broadway-style theatre created in collaboration with acclaimed artists and award-winning creative teams. The company engages theatre lovers in Toronto and throughout Canada. Mr. Dan co-produced URINETOWN: The Musical (2004), Ain't Misbehavin' (2005), and Hair (2006) in Toronto with The Canadian Stage Company. He subsequently formed a partnership with Marion J. Caffey of MariMo' Music, Inc., and produced 3 Mo' Divas (2006) across North America. On Broadway and internationally, Mr. Dan's producing and investment credits include: Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Tom Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll, The Farnsworth Invention, Jersey Boys, Wicked, High Fidelity, In The Heights, The Wedding Singer and The Pirate Queen. Dancap Productions is also a strategic member of theatrical development and production company Elephant Eye Theatrical who has a current slate of projects that include: The Addams Family, Bruce Lee: Journey to the West and Saved. Mr. Dan lives in Toronto, Canada with his wife Marla and their two children.

John Gore, 45, graduated in film and theatre from London University in 1987 and knew he was destined for a life in the theatre as his finals production of Joe Orton's What The Butler Saw transferred straight into the West End. Mr. Gore's producing and/or directing credits on the West End include: Thunderbirds F.A.B. (produced first in 1989, it became the most revived show in the history of the West End in 2002 when it returned for the sixth time); Star Trek - the Lost Voyage of the Enterprise; and Wallace & Gromit, the highest grossing non-musical production in the West End. In 1995, John formed Key Brand Inc., an entertainment investment company, which is a shareholder in all the Andrew Lloyd Webber catalog of shows including the original productions of Cats and The Phantom Of The Opera. Key Brand Inc. has a wide portfolio of investments including Sean Connery's production of Art, the London production of Wicked and the recent Webber-produced revival of The Sound Of Music. Since 1992 Mr. Gore has been a member of the Society of London Theatre. Mr. Gore will reside in New York City.

Thomas B. McGrath, is the Founder and Senior Managing Director of Crossroads Media, a private-equity backed vehicle for acquisitions and investments in the entertainment industries. Mr. McGrath's background includes developing and growing businesses in over 20 countries, including radio and cable TV networks in the UK and Europe; movie theatres throughout the world; production of feature films and theatrical productions; launching the divisions for Pay TV and Home Video at a major motion picture studio and many other successful start-ups and operations.

Formerly, Mr. McGrath served as Executive Vice President of the Viacom Entertainment Group, and President of Paramount Enterprises. During Mr. McGrath's tenure the Viacom Entertainment Group comprised Paramount Pictures; Paramount Television, including Viacom Productions and Spelling Productions; Paramount Parks; Viacom's motion picture theatre operations; Famous Players, UCI, Mann Theatres and Simon & Schuster; Embassy Communications/Tandem-TAT; and Merv Griffin Productions. Led by Mr. McGrath, the Viacom Consumer Products Group created production of numerous stage musicals including Happy Days with Garry Marshall, Footloose on Broadway, Irving Berlin's White Christmas and many others.

Prior to Viacom, Mr. McGrath was President of Time Warner International Broadcasting and Senior Vice President, International New Business Development at Time Warner's Home Box Office unit.

Mr. McGrath received a B.A. cum laude from Harvard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was music director of the Hasty Pudding, the Harvard University Band and other stage productions. Mr. McGrath resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Peter Schneider has enjoyed a diverse theatrical career, from playing an integral part in the off-off Broadway movement in the seventies while directing productions at the WPA, Playwrights Horizon and Circle Rep., to being the Managing Director of The St. Nicholas Theatre, one of Chicago's leading off-loop theatres, producing a wide variety of West End attractions in London, and with his friend and colleague Thomas Schumacher, producing the world premiere Broadway musicals Disney's The Lion King, which garnered six 1998 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, winner of four Tonys.

As President of Feature Animation and Chairman of the Studio for the Walt Disney Company, he was responsible for creating and distributing over 50 movies, including Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Toy Story, The Lion King, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Remember the Titans and Princess Diaries.

Peter first came to Los Angeles to be the Associate Director of the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival. Peter now runs his own theatrical production company and recently directed Julie Andrews in a live action / animation short celebrating the 40th anniversary of Mary Poppins. He is married, has two daughters and lives in Los Angeles.

Tokyo Broadcasting System, Inc., is a major television network producing and televising new programs, dramas, sports and variety programs on their 28-affiliate network, cable and satellite channels in Japan. TBS also has a long history of presenting Broadway shows in Japan, including Cabaret, Chicago, Rent, The Producers, Movin' Out and A Class Act. They are building the new Akasaka ACT Theatre in Tokyo which will present its inaugural production in March 2008.

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