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Olympia London bought – but not by MSG

A consortium of German and British investors has acquired Olympia London, the historic exhibition centre and concert venue, from Capital & Counties Properties (Capco).

The €330 million purchase price was stumped up by Deutsche Finance International, its subsidiary Deutsche Finance Group and UK private-equity firm Yoo Capital, with additional investment from Bayerische Versorgungskammer and Versicherungskammer Bayern. Deutsche Finance says its goal for the West Kensington complex – whose main Olympia Grand venue has a capacity for concerts of 10,000 – is to maximise the “long-term profit potential for the investment”.

“This acquisition marks the successful start to a number of interesting club deals and joint ventures”

The Madison Square Garden Company, which owns the eponymous New York venue and a string of other venues and sports teams, was previously believed to be the favourite to acquire the Olympia, which it reportedly hoped to turn into a rival to arenas such as AEG’s The O2 and SSE Arena Wembley.

Deutsche Finance’s successful bid is the start of “a number of interesting ‘club deals'” – a German term for joint acquisitions of property by groups of investors – “and joint ventures for investors on which we’re current working”, says the company’s chief investment officer Sven Neubauer.

The Olympia opened in 1886 as the National Agricultural Hall, and has since expanded to include four event venues and a conference centre. Bands who’ve played the venue include The Cure, The Chemical Brothers, Primal Scream, Bloc Party, Pink Floyd and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.


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Ticket buyers put off by “incomprehensible” fees

Potential customers are being put off buying concert tickets because of “incomprehensible” ordering processes and “ridiculous” hidden charges, according to a leading consumer protection group.

Examining the additional costs associated with purchasing tickets for 50 live events, Consumentenbond, or the Dutch Consumers’ Association, found that of the Netherlands’ three main primary ticket agencies – Ticketmaster, Eventim, Ticketpoint – only Ticketmaster lists details of extra charges at the beginning of the buying process. The association calls for “all unavoidable additional costs to be included in the ticket price, so consumers are not faced at the end of the ordering process with unexpected costs”.

Consumentenbond also asked a group of consumers for their experiences with buying tickets from the three outlets. One respondent called it “ridiculous that you are charged for ordering tickets over the internet, when the whole process is automated”, while another said they want to see ticket prices that “include everything”, such as service charges and credit card fees.

Service? What service? I do everything myself!'”

By way of example, the association compared additional charges on e-tickets for shows by Paul Simon, The Toppers and the musical The Bodyguard, sold by Ticketmaster, Ticketpoint and Eventim, respectively. The Simon ticket had a service charge of €6.90, 10% of the total ticket price, while The Bodyguard fared slightly better, with a €6.85 service charge and €1.80 for ‘delivery’ for 9.6%. The Toppers show had the least extra charges overall, totalling 7.9% of the ticket cost.

Consumentenbond ticket examples

Although a spokesperson for Ticketmaster explains to Consumentenbond that service charges are its fee for selling the tickets, the latter says the current set-up is “incomprehensible”, with many consumers thinking: “‘Service? What service? After all, I do everything myself!'”

For Dutch speakers, the report can be read in full at the Consumentenbond website.

Photo: © Sjaakpeppel / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)


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