LONDON, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- EMI Group Ltd. Sunday responded to speculation its famed Abbey Road studio in London was for sale, saying "Abbey Road should remain in EMI's ownership."
The financially troubled record company issued a statement following days of press reports the studio -- made famous by The Beatles "Abbey Road" album -- would be put up for sale. The statement noted that English Heritage -- which advises the British government on historical buildings and monuments -- has accelerated plans to protect Abbey Road, which has been losing money for several years.
"In response to recent press speculation, EMI confirms that it is holding preliminary discussions for the revitalization of Abbey Road with interested and appropriate third parties," the statement said.
Terra Firma, a private equity firm, acquired EMI in 2007. EMI said Sunday the new owners "made the preservation of Abbey Road a priority."
EMI confirmed it has been exploring possible sources of revenue.
"In mid-2009, we did receive an offer to buy Abbey Road for in excess of ($46 million) but this was rejected since we believe that Abbey Road should remain in EMI's ownership," the statement said.
A spokesman for Andrew Lloyd Webber says the British composer was considering bidding on Abbey Road, the BBC reported.
"He thinks it is vital that the studios are saved for the future of the music industry in the (United Kingdom)," said the spokesman, whose name was not reported.
The spokesman said Lloyd Webber, 61, has used the Abbey Road studios on numerous occasions to record his popular stage musicals.
"Andrew has probably brought more musicians to record there than anyone else, because it has the capacity to record large orchestral productions," the spokesman said.