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02 is NOT for sale

PUBLISHED: 12:11 06 August 2009 | UPDATED: 17:00 25 August 2010

LEASE holders for a venue where the late Michael Jackson was due to stage 50 concerts have said the site is not up for sale after speculation about a bid from a top university. AEG Live, who have a 55-year lease on the O2 Arena, Greenwich, lost nearly ha

LEASE holders for a venue where the late Michael Jackson was due to stage 50 concerts have said the site is not up for sale after speculation about a bid from a top university.

AEG Live, who have a 55-year lease on the O2 Arena, Greenwich, lost nearly half-a-billion pounds in ticket sales after Jackson's death, but said it is "absolutely not for sale" after reports that Trinity College, Cambridge wanted to buy it for £20 million.

They say the issue centres on the sale of land on which the O2 Arena - formerly Millennium Dome - sits, not the lease.

Part of the University of Cambridge, Trinity is estimated to be one of the biggest land owners in the UK, worth more than Manchester United Football Club at over £600 million.

It was reported that Trinity was in "advanced negotiations" with O2 owners Quintain and Lend Lease, who hired London agents Michael Elliott and Savills to sell their interest.

Meridian Delta Limited (MDL), a joint venture between Australian developer Lend Lease and British Quintain Estates was granted a 999-year lease on the O2 site and surrounding area in 2002.

MDL issued a 55-year lease, extendable to 100 years, to AEG.

A spokeswoman for AEG said: "AEG's interest in The O2 is absolutely not for sale - it is the landlord's (MDL) underlying interest in the land on which it sits that is.

"AEG benefit 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."

Quintain confirmed that the 999-year lease is up for grabs.

A spokeswoman for the firm said: "It's being marketed but we can't say any more than that. "It just means that someone else will be the landlord. The lease to AEG remains unaffected."

Michael Jackson fans from all over the world met for a vigil at the O2 arena on July 13 when the star had been due to begin his run of 50 concerts.

The 50-year-old 'King of Pop' suffered an apparent heart attack at his rented home in Los Angeles and was pronounced dead at UCLA medical centre two hours later on June 26, 12.30am British time.

The O2 is on track to do over 175 events this year, beating all its previous records.

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