UK: Investors double their money as cinema chain Vue changes hands in £935m private equity deal

An artist's impression of what the Vue cinema in Ipswich could look like

An artist's impression of what the Vue cinema in Ipswich could look like - Credit: Contributed

The backers of cinema chain Vue today reaped the benefits of a two-year expansion drive by selling the business for £935million.

Under private equity firm Doughty Hanson, Vue Entertainment has grown from 70 cinemas at the time of its takeover in December 2010 to 146 across Europe, with the number of screens having risen from 678 to 1,321.

Doughty and its co-investors paid £450m for the business in 2010 and have more than doubled their investment after agreeing the sale of Vue to Toronto-based Omers Private Equity and Alberta Investment Management.

Vue’s expansion included the acquisition of Apollo Cinemas in May last year, as well as Germany’s second largest operator CinemaxX in July and Poland’s Multikino last month.

It has also rolled out digital technology across the estate and opened new cinemas such as the 17 screen Vue Stratford in London.

The company, whose locations in East Anglia already include Cambridge and Norwich, is due to start work shortly on a creating a new cinema in Ipswich, involving the conversion of part of the Buttermarket shopping centre.

Vue’s management team, including founder and chief executive Tim Richards, will retain a substantial stake and continue to run the business.

Most Read

Mr Richards said more strategic acquisitions were possible as the company continues to plot further growth.

He said: “As the company moves forward, I am confident that we will do so from a position of real strength.”

Doughty Hanson partner Julian Huxtable described Vue as a “successful and exciting investment”, leading to a significant return of cash for investors. The deal is expected to complete in July or August.