Michael Ovitz: A New Theater Of Operations

He used to look for value in directors and actors. Now, onetime superagent Michael Ovitz sees value in real estate. That's a key reason Ovitz took control of Livent Inc., a troubled theatrical production company that also owns theaters in six cities, including the lavish new Ford Center on New York's Great White Way, where the hit Ragtime opened in January. Ovitz controls the company, after paying $20 million for a 12% stake on Apr. 13 and installing investment banker Roy Furman to run the company that has been struggling since its initial smash with the revival of Show Boat.

The Livent deal is just the latest Ovitz move into real estate, following a recent joint venture with land developer Glimcher Realty Trust to build entertainment-themed shopping malls. And there might yet be another real estate play in Ovitz's future: For months, he has been trying to put together a group to build a football stadium in Los Angeles in hopes of luring a National Football League franchise back to the football-barren city.

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