Cineworld says in advanced talks on deal for Polish rival CCI's cinemas

Thu Jan 9, 2014 4:13pm EST

Jan 9 (Reuters) - British cinema operator Cineworld Group , responding to a report it is close to buying Warsaw-listed Cinema City International's (CCI) movie theatre operations, confirmed it was in advanced talks.

Sky News reported earlier on Thursday that the deal was worth 900 million pounds ($1.48 billion). ()

Cineworld is Britain's largest cinema operator by market share and an acquisition of CCI, which runs about 100 multiplexes in Poland, Israel, Hungary, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia, would allow it to expand beyond Britain and Ireland.

After a big acquisition of a rival operator, Cineworld floated on the stock exchange in 2007 and now runs around 80 sites, including four of the 10 highest grossing cinemas in the UK and Ireland.

The company also owns 21 more cinemas under the Picturehouse brand, which it bought last year.

Cineworld said in a statement it "confirms that it is in advanced discussions with Cinema City International N.V. ("CCI") regarding a possible transaction with CCI's cinema operations."

"Discussions are continuing and there can be no certainty that a transaction will take place," it said. It declined to give further details.

CCI could not be reached for comments outside regular business hours.

The enlarged company would be headed by CCI's Chief Executive Moshe Greidinger with the board likely to comprise a majority of existing Cineworld board members, Sky added.

Barclays Plc, JPMorgan Cazenove and Investec are advising Cineworld, while CCI is being advised by HSBC, Sky said.

Cineworld's competitor Vue Entertainment agreed to buy Poland's No.2 multiplex operator Multikino in May last year.

Cineworld's chief executive and founder said in November that he would step down in March after 18 years with the business.