LONDON Dec 6 British cinema chain Cineworld
has bought independent movie theatre operator
Picturehouse, giving traditionally mainstream Cineworld access
to an arthouse film audience.
Cineworld, which runs about 80 cinemas in the UK, is issuing
new shares to help finance the cash deal, which values
privately-owned Picturehouse at 47.3 million pounds ($76.1
The transaction will enable Picturehouse - the trading name
of City Screen Group - to open in more than 10 new locations,
adding to the 21 sites it currently operates, including the
trendy Ritzy in South London and the Phoenix in Oxford.
"We recognise that Picturehouse is valued by its customers
and we look forward to supporting the business through the next
phase of its development," Stephen Wiener, chief executive of
Cineworld, said on Thursday.
Picturehouse founder and director Lyn Goleby pre-empted any
concerns that the buyout could detract from the company's
distinctive charm in a market dominated by identikit
"The unique character of Picturehouse cinemas will remain
and our team will continue to bring the widest range of film to
customers," Goleby said.
Picturehouse will operate as a separate entity within the
Cineworld Group and continue to be run by the existing
Picturehouse management team.
Cineworld, which is looking to big-name releases like 'The
Hobbit' and James Bond movie 'Skyfall' to keep its box office
revenues flowing over Christmas, said trading had been in line
with market expectations.
It said Picturehouse expected to earn 5 million pounds in
2012 and that the buy would likely boost Cineworld earnings per
share by high single digits in 2013.
The company said it intended to place up to 6.4 million
shares, representing around 4.5 percent of the company, to raise
16 million pounds. The rest of the buy would be funded from
debt, it said.