Clive Epstein becomes chairman of NEMS Enterprises

Wednesday, August 30, 1967

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Brian Epstein, who managed The Beatles, tragically passed away on August 27, 1967.

On this day, August 30, a significant change occurred within NEMS Enterprises. Brian’s brother Clive Epstein was elected chairman, and Robert Stigwood was appointed managing director. Stigwood had become part of NEMS in January 1967, following the merger between his own company, the Robert Stigwood Organization, and NEMS. He was thought to be the successor of Brian Epstein at NEMS and also had the ambition to manage The Beatles. However, as the Beatles refused to work with him, he received a “golden handshake” and left NEMS to re-form his own Robert Stigwood Organisation.

The day after this transition, on August 31, The Beatles released an official statement to make it clear that Clive Epstein would not be their personal manager.

Beatles’ song firm rallies after fall

Over £250,000 was wiped off the market value of Northern Songs, yesterday, as dealers reacted immediately to the weekend death of Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein. But the shares soon rallied strongly and by the close they stood at 17s. 7 1/2d., a gain of 1 1/2d. on the day. Northern Songs controls the copyrights for Beatles compositions, publishes the songs and collects royalties on each record sold.

The fall was not unexpected as Epstein’s executors may be able to choose between Friday night’s closing price or a price when dealings are resumed, whichever is lowest, for probate valuation purposes. The executors of Joseph Collier, former president of the giant United Drapery Stores group who also died on Sunday, were in the same position, but U.D.S. shares stayed rock steady all day and closed unchanged at 27s.

Epstein’s pop empire was based on Nems Enterprises, a private company in which he controlled some 70 per cent of the 10,000 shares. The Beatles each hold only 250 Nems shares. Epstein’s personal stake in Northern Songs was relatively small — 6,000 shares — but Nems had a 7 1/2 per cent holding in the company.

But the Beatles’ personal fortunes are really linked to one key company, Beatles Ltd. Formed in May, 1963, its £100 capital is split equally between the four, and Brian Epstein was one of four directors.

The grand total so far has been estimated as something in the region of a staggering £15m. Nems would take a 25 per cent cut of this as the Beatles’ agents, but the Beatles’ stake in Nems means they do not kiss the cash goodbye altogether. Another private company, Suba Films, handles the profits from Beatles films — which could be around £3m — and again the capital is split equally four ways.

From The Times – August 30, 1967
From The Times – August 30, 1967

Epstein’s brother is boss of Beatle empire

CLIVE EPSTEIN, the man who lived in the shadow of his elder brother Brian, is to take over from him as boss of the multi-million pound Beatles empire. He will be chairman of NEMS Enterprises, the business which his brother built into the world’s most successful pop industry. The choice of Clive was announced last night on the day of 32-year-old Brian’s funeral.

The announcement came as a surprise. Although 31-year-old Clive has been associated with Brian’s business ventures, he has always been in the background. In many ways, though, Clive, a former public schoolboy, is similar to his brother. But while Brian rose to the top with the Beatles and other stars, Clive went on running the family radio, electrical and record business in Liverpool. Robert Stigwood, the man who was tipped to take over from Brian as boss of NEMS has been appointed managing director.

THE BEATLES backed Clive’s appointment. Paul McCartney said at his home in St. John’s Wood, London: “Clive is not only a good replacement but is an ideal man for the job.”

BRIAN’S FUNERAL was a quiet one in Liverpool, where he found the Mersey Sound. The only pop star there was Gerry Marsden. Cilla Black went to the synagogue where the hearse arrived from London. But she did not attend the burial service at Long-lane Jewish Cemetery. The Beatles stayed away “to prevent crowds gathering, and to ensure maximum privacy” for the Epstein family.

THE INQUEST on Brian, who died at his London home last Sunday, was opened at Westminster coroner’s court yesterday. It was adjourned until September 8.

From The Daily Mirror – August 31, 1967


At press-time the answer had still to be given. Future control of NEMS Enterprises may lie with any one of Epstein’s fellow directors, who include his joint managing director, Robert Stigwood; Vic Lewis, the bandleader-turned-impressario; David Shaw; and Brian’s younger brother, Clive Epstein.

If no will is found, Epstein’s shares in NEMS, believed to be about 70 per cent, will go to his recently widowed mother, Mrs Queenie Epstein.

One thing is certain — the Beatles themselves will have a big say in their own future management, one possibility which cannot be ruled out is that they could manage themselves for a time. Their contract with NEMS is in any case due for renewal in October.


Tony Barrow, NEMS Press Officer, told the MM: “The Beatles are too numbed by Brian’s death to make any plans at the moment, and until there has been a full board meeting, nothing can be finalised.”

John, Paul, George and Ringo will not be at the funeral of the 32-year-old Fifth Beatle; nor will any other stars at the request of his relatives who want a private family-only ceremony in Liverpool.

His death has left his friends and associates stunned. Cilla Black Hew home from holiday in Portugal immediately she heard the news.

From Melody Maker – September 2, 1967
From Melody Maker – September 2, 1967

See Clive Epstein Moving Into Brother’s NEMS Spot

NEW YORK — The brother of Brian Epstein, founder and manager of one of this century’s greatest entertainment attractions, the Beatles, who was found dead in his London apartment on Sunday, Aug. 27, is expected to take over the multi-million dollar show business empire of his older brother. The board of NEMS, Brian Epstein’s management and booking company, were meeting last week to discuss the matter of Epstein’s successor, most probably his younger brother, Clive.

Epstein, who was 32-years-old, had been ill for nearly a year with jaundice and had been depressed over the death of his father a month ago. A post-mortem is being conducted, the results of which are not expected to be made known until sometime this week.

At the time of his death, the Beatles were in Bangor, North Wales for a weekend of what was described as “meditation” with Indian mystic Maharishi Mahosh Yogi. Epstein was to have joined them on Sunday to be initiated into the cult. After that, Epstein was to visit his American business interests, including a U.S. affiliate of NEMS, Nemperor, and to take part in a Canadian TV spectacular.

From the time he discovered the act five years ago — consisting of all present personnel with the exception of Ringo Starr — Epstein led them through global fame and fortune (about $80 million in records, writing and personal-appearance monies, of which Epstein reportedly earned 25% as his share in their career).

Born in Liverpool, England, artistic home of the Beatles and many other top English pop acts, Epstein was the son of a furniture store-owner. His interest in the record world led his father to allow him to open a record dept. in his store, and when a customer requested a record by the Beatles, his curiosity was aroused. He found them performing in a nearby nightclub. Swiftly successful, the Beatles are regarded to have changed the course of pop music through their sounds and the songs of team members John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Epstein also managed such other strong English performers as Cilla Black, Donovan, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer, the Bee Gees, Matt Munro. When Nemperor opened shop in the U.S., it offered a strong Columbia group, the Cyrkle.

From Cashbox – September 9, 1967

Showbiz has lost a Nemperor

NEMS director Vic Lewis was looking a bit harassed at his London office on Friday. So was everyone else in NEMS. As one secretary said: “It’s been terrible here all the week. The press were queuing up Tuesday to ask about Mr. Epstein.

But despite the confusion, Vic Lewis found time to talk about NEMS and the man who built it up.

“I first met Brian when GAC, which I represented, asked me to try and get the Beatles for a tour of America. I set up a meeting in Paris between Norman Weiss of GAC and Epstein and it resulted in the Beatles doing their first tour of the States in February ’64. That was how I met Brian. After that, through the association between him and GAC, I saw more of him and it led, among other things, to the two of us co-presenting Cannonball Adderley over here. And from there, in the way that one thing leads to another. Brian went on to make an offer, in February of 1966, to merge our two companies. Which left me a director on the board of NEMS but still running the Vic Lewis Organisation as a branch of NEMS.”

And will this “separate” state of affairs continue?

“Yes, I’ll continue to do what I have been doing. All the separate organisations here are governed by the board, of course, but we run our own businesses. Like the Monkees, for example; it was my idea to bring them over, so I went to the States, brought them over on my own and presented them here.”

Now that Epstein is dead will NEMS continue to expand, keep on looking for new talent to sign? And will Clive Epstein move to London?

“In reply to the first question, yes very much so. We are continuing the policy Brian would have wanted, which means we’ll be forging ahead. As for the second, I don’t believe that’s been decided yet. Clive has been coming down to the office three days a week anyhow. As chairman, he may need to come down a bit more often.”

Will NEMS go on acting for the Beatles, and will they arrange any future appearances the Beatles may make?

“Well, they won’t be doing anything in public, will they? Perhaps TV and films. But we will obviously take care of all their wants. Whatever we did for them we’ll continue to do, and with their blessing, but we’ll not be managing them.”

Finally, what was Epstein like to work with?

“I found Eppy to be a most sympathetic person, and one who had a tremendous knowledge of the pop scene in every facet. I think he had a second sense about anything he thought was good. In the matter of finding artists, his successes considerably outweighed what you might call his failures. Really, he had terrific insight and I believe his death is an enormous loss. You could say that the show business world has lost a Nemperor.”

From Melody Maker – September 9, 1967
From Melody Maker – September 9, 1967

Last updated on May 10, 2024

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