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Abbey Road Studios not for sale, owner says

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman take part in a recording at Abbey Road in September.
Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman take part in a recording at Abbey Road in September.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • EMI, the music label that owns studios, says it's holding talks for revitalizing them
  • Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber had expressed interest in buying studios
  • Beatles made studios famous with album "Abbey Road"
  • Much of Britain's best known music of 20 century has been recorded there
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London, England (CNN) -- The iconic Abbey Road music studios made famous by the Beatles are not for sale, the music label that owns them said Sunday, after days of speculation that they were.

It is seeking a partner to help pay for upgrades, according to Terra Firma, which controls EMI, owner of the recording studios.

"EMI confirms that it is holding preliminary discussions for the revitalization of Abbey Road with interested and appropriate third parties," Terra Firma said.

But that does not mean the studios are for sale, it added.

"In mid-2009, we did receive an offer to buy Abbey Road for in excess of £30 million (currently about $46 million), but this was rejected since we believe that Abbey Road should remain in EMI's ownership," the music company said in a statement.

The studios became world famous when the Beatles were photographed crossing the road there for the cover of their album "Abbey Road."

But it's not only where the Beatles recorded "All You Need is Love" and numerous other songs, but where much of Britain's best known music of the 20th century was laid down.

Rock stars Pink Floyd and Cliff Richard, composer Sir Edward Elgar, and the movie soundtracks for "Star Wars" and the "Harry Potter" films were recorded there.

English Heritage, a cultural institution, is considering plans to list the studios as a site of national historic importance, Terra Firma said. That would give it protected status.

"EMI ... supports such a listing as an appropriate way of protecting our world famous music heritage site," the company said Sunday.

Terra Firma bought EMI in 2007.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer of "Phantom of the Opera" and "Cats" and one of Britain's richest men, is "very interested" in buying the studios, a representative said Friday.

"He first recorded there in 1967 with Tim Rice. Andrew has since recorded most of his musicals there," said the representative, Jenni Pain.

"He thinks it is vital that the studios are saved for the future of the music industry in the UK. Abbey Road has such great facilities, with three major recording studios, and Andrew has probably brought more musicians to record there than anyone else, because it has the capacity to record large orchestral productions."

CNN's Per Nyberg and Morgan Neill contributed to this report.