EMI insists it will keep hold of famous Abbey Road studio

Music company EMI wants to retain ownership of the Abbey Road recording studios, immortalised by the Beatles album of the same name, though it is talking to other firms about revitalising the site, the UK publisher said yesterday.

Loss-making EMI was believed to have put the studios up for sale and was talking to interested companies, although no deal was imminent.

“EMI confirms that it is holding preliminary discussions for the revitalisation of Abbey Road with interested and appropriate third parties,” the firm said in a statement, without elaborating on what exactly the talks were about.

EMI said it had been in discussions since November 2009 to find ways to regenerate the studios, which have been losing money for years, but had rejected an offer worth £30m. “We believe that Abbey Road should remain in EMI’s ownership,” the company added.

Millions of Beatles fans remain attached to the Abbey Road studios, which are also popular with tourists who pose for snaps on the nearby pedestrian crossing where the Beatles are pictured on the cover of the 1969 album of the same name.

EMI said it welcomed reports that the architectural preservation body English Heritage planned to list Abbey Road, a step that would make it hard for any developer to do anything radical to the site.

Such a listing could potentially lower the price EMI could get for Abbey Road if it did end up selling it.

The firm, owned by private equity group Terra Firma, said any plan it agreed for Abbey Road would involve “a substantial injection of new capital”. “When Terra Firma acquired EMI in 2007, it made the preservation of Abbey Road a priority,” EMI said.

Reports the studios were up for sale attracted a lot of interest, including from ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.