With the Future Music Festival 2014 lineup announced, featuring Deadmau5, Phoenix, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis topping a massive bill for the event next March, attention has once again turned to the new partnership presenting the annual music festival.

The flagship Future Music Festival is being presented in a joint venture with Michael Gudinski’s Frontier Touring, a deal that has drawn controversy following the financial collapse of companies formerly tied to Future Music Festival as liquidators begin to investigate a messy and complex series of transactions.

As the financial threads are untangled they reveal some interesting new information: that Michael Gudinski bought then-rival Future Entertainment’s South Melbourne offices on the same day that the group were placed into court-ordered liquidation, as The Age reports.

The Mushroom and Frontier Touring boss could have paid up to $3 million in the sale of the two-storey Future headquarters, located at 222 York Street, South Melbourne. However, the property sale is not believed to be part of the deal that saw Gudinski acquiring Future Entertainment’s intellectual properties – including Future, Good Life, and the presumably cancelled Summadayze – from a third party (later revealed to be ‘mystery’ broker’ Maria Papadimitriou) ahead of the Future fallout.

Liquidators are currently investigating the circumstances which led to the financial collapse of three companies tied with Future Entertainment, which already estimates that more than $500,000 is owed to creditors and suppliers of the 2013 editions of Future Music Festival and Summadayze, but the Future headquarters bought by Gudinski were not owned by any of the three companies currently in liquidation, meaning the reported $3m sale is separated out from the festival company’s liquidation.

The South Melbourne Future Headquarters (Source: www.onthehouse.com.au)

Instead, the property is jointly owned by Jasmel Investments Pty and Mark James Presents Pty – companies still operated by Future employees Jason Ayoubi and Mark Condron (aka Mark James), but land title records show Michael Gudinski Promotions Pty Ltd placed a caveat for the location after signing the contract of sale on 4th September, the same day that a Victorian Supreme Court ordered the liquidation of Future Entertainment Pty Ltd.

The property was originally purchased for $1.55 million by Mr Ayoubi and Mr Condron in April 2007, while the City of Port Phillip council assessed the capital improved value at $1.75 million, but The Age reports the Future property was put on the market for a price of around $3 million.

The property transaction raises more questions surrounding the circumstances in which Gudinski’s Frontier Touring came to acquire the trademarks to present Future, but the promoter has been keen to emphasise that the new venture is “an entirely new company… it has nothing to do with those other companies [that are entering liquidation].”

The new company, headed by Gudinski, his son Matt Gudinski, and Festival Director Brett Robinson are presenting Future Music Festival 2014, but will be keeping on former boss Jason Ayoubi as a consultant with no direct stakes in the venture. “Jason has no financial involvement. However, he’ll be doing some consulting,” Michael Gudinski has previously confirmed.

Mr Ayoubi and Future are also being pursued by ice-cream makers Cold Rock for around $30,000, a figure awarded to the ice-creamery after Future failed to show up to several hearings over an ongoing trademark dispute with Cold Rock over a Future Music Festival promotion.

Mr Ayoubi, along with his business partner Mark Condron(/James), were estimated to have earnings of $4.661 million according to the BRW’s Top 50 Rich List for 2012, and are embroiled in the financial woes of the company formerly known as Future Entertainment Pty Ltd, where court documents obtained by Tone Deaf showed that the company had been thinking about its financial position since at least October 2012.

It seems that the company pushed ahead with Future 2013 and Summadayze 2013 regardless of their shaky financial position, with an undetermined number of creditors and suppliers – including production companies, equipment hire businesses, fencing companies, and alcohol suppliers such as Carlton United Breweries and Moet Hennessy – still owed financial debts of around $500,000. That figure is likely to grow as an official investigation into the liquidation continues.

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