Business News Deals Live Business

MAMA founder’s new business takes stake in Oval Space

By | Published on Tuesday 10 November 2015

Dean James & Jordan Gross

Sixth Media, the previously reported new business from MAMA & Company founder Dean James, has announced it is taking a “strategic stake” in Big New Year LLP, the firm that operates London venues Oval Space and The Pickle Factory.

Big New Year has been running Bethnal Green-based arts and music venue Oval Space since 2012 and added the neighbouring Pickle Factory just over a year ago. James will join the board of the company as part of the deal, which will see Sixth Media acquire a minority stake in the business for an undisclosed sum.

Confirming the purchase, James told reporters: “As one of the most exciting, creatively led, independent venue businesses out there right now, Sixth Media is delighted to be acquiring a stake in Big New Year. We have been following them closely for a while; at a time when many venues are closing and the venue industry is in upheaval, they have clearly cemented their position as one of the forerunners of the UK music scene. I am confident that their ambitious and uncompromising vision for the future is synergistic with Sixth Media’s and we very much look forward to being involved in the company’s growth”.

Meanwhile Big New Year CEO and Oval Space founder Jordan Gross added: “We are tremendously excited to announce our deal with Sixth Media. Since we opened in 2012, Oval Space has proved itself to be a vital addition to the capital’s nightlife and live music scenes, and a palpable contributor to the wider cultural landscape within London. Despite the negativity in the press surrounding the current state of arts and music venues, I believe there is still room in the market for more quality venues, and I am thrilled to have Sixth Media involved as we enter a new chapter and seek to create more spaces for London”.

James launched Sixth Media last year with ambitions to recreate the structure of his former business, MAMA, prior to its stint as an HMV division, ie with operations combining venues, festivals, artist management and brand partnerships. A former colleague at MAMA, Kirsty McShannon, is now COO of the new business.

MAMA, of course, was recently acquired by Live Nation, with its two key divisions – venues and festivals – now seemingly operating apart, linked into the respective venue and festival strands of the Live Nation UK business, the latter of which has been through something of a rejig itself in recent months.