Vue sold to Canadian pension funds

Sat, 15 Jun 2013 | BUSINESS SALE

Vue Entertainment, one of the largest cinema chains in Europe, has been sold to two Canadian pension funds.

Omers Private Equity and Alberta Investment Management bought the company for £935 million from UK-based private equity investor, Doughty Hanson. The UK firm had acquired the company back in December 2010 for £450 million from Coller Capital and Och-Ziff.

Senior managing director at Omers, Mark Redman, said on Monday that both the Canadian groups will continue to push Vue's expansion strategy, particularly in mainland Europe. He said: “Our combined ownership gives Vue the distinct advantage of patient capital and deep pockets for organic and acquisitive growth.

“The pan-European market is a lot less consolidated than the UK market. That's where the opportunities are for Vue.”

Doughty Hanson has already managed to grow the chain substantially, adding Apollo Cinemas and CinemaxX to the mix. This helped it double the number of cinemas under the Vue ownership from 70 to 146 in three years, while increasing the number of screens from 678 to 1,321.

It looks like the new owners will continue to grow the firm. Tim Richards, chief executive and founder of Vue, noted that the chain aims to continue to deliver returns through “organic growth supplemented by a strategic acquisitions”.

Mr Richards and the Vue management team will continue to manage the business and will retain a substantial equity stake.

It's all change in the entertainment market at the moment, with Vue's sale coming just as Terra Firma, the private equity group behind Odeon and UCI, is preparing for a sale of initial public offering.

Related news:
Terra Firma plans to sell Odeon chain
Cineworld buys Picturehouse chain
Acquisition strategy guidelines

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