O2 owner denies venue is up for sale

UK - The owner of UK venue The O2 has rejected claims made in the UK press that a Cambridge University college is in advanced talks to buy the arena.

A spokeswoman for the venue owner AEG told Exhibition World that negotiations between Trinity College and property development consortium Meridian Delta Dome are purely for the land on which the venue sits, and will not affect AEG’s existing lease agreement.

“AEG's interest in The O2 is absolutely not for sale,” says the spokeswoman. “It is the landlord's underlying interest in the land on which it sits that is. AEG benefits from a long leasehold interest in The O2, which will not be affected by the sale process. Landlords, current and future, will receive a rental income from AEG.”

Stories reported in the UK press claim Trinity, the university's wealthiest college, is in advanced talks with property firms Quintain and Lend Lease, partners in the consortium, to buy the O2 entertainment complex for more than £20million.

The south-east London venue, where Michael Jackson was due to play a 50-show residency before his death last month, has become one of the most sought-after venues in the world following successful concerts by artists including Madonna, Prince and Take That.

Quintain last week confirmed talks with a preferred bidder were underway. In a statement the company told shareholders that despite the loss of show dates due to Jackson’s death, “revenue will still exceed the level required to deliver the maximum rental payment to Meridian Delta Dome, of which Quintain holds a 49 per cent interest.”