Private equity firm Doughty Hanson stated today that it has sold the Vue cinema chain to Canadian investors OMERS Private Equity (OPE) and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) for £935m in a transaction that more than doubles the company’s original investment. The sale is expected to be complete by the end of July.
Vue Entertainment operates state-of-the-art multiplex cinemas in the UK and Europe. The cinema chain was acquired by Doughty Hanson at the end of 2010 for £450m and since then has grown from being the third largest UK cinema operator to becoming a pan-European market leader and one of the largest cinema operators in the world, the company said and added that it has doubled the number of its cinemas to 146 in the last three years.
Three acquisitions of rival cinema chains in Britain, Germany and Poland have expanded the company’s reach with the acquisitions of Apollo Cinemas in the UK in May 2012 and Germany’s second largest operator CinemaxX in July 2012, while in May this year it agreed to acquire Poland’s second largest operator Multikino.
OMERS Private Equity and Alberta Investment Management are expected to further expand the chain and Tim Richards, founder and CEO of Vue, will stay with the company, while the current management team will continue to run the business.
According to the statement, Omers Private Equity is part of Omers, a large pension funds in Canada with over $60bn in assets, while Alberta Investment has more than $70bn under management. Both OPE and AIMCo are expected to support the management team and will seek to capitalise on the significant growth opportunities in combination with selective acquisitions.