(Adds detail, background)
* To merge SF Bio, Finnkino cinema chains
* Ratos to own 60 pct, Bonnier 40 pct
STOCKHOLM, March 18 Private equity firm Ratos
and publisher Bonnier said on Monday they had agreed
to merge their cinema chains Finnkino and SF Bio to create the
largest player in the field in the Nordic region.
Ratos would own a 60 percent stake in the combined cinema
group, which would have an enterprise value of about 3.0 billion
Swedish crowns ($468.85 million), while Bonnier would hold the
remaining 40 percent, the companies said in a joint statement.
"We're building the region's biggest cinema group where
strong local brands combine to be even more competitive," Ratos
Chief Executive Susanna Cambell said in the statement.
The deal would include no capital from Bonnier, nor
initially from Ratos, the companies said. The combined cinema
company would have sales of about 2.6 billion crowns with an
operating profit of about 360 million.
Ratos and Bonnier said they would support the new cinema
group's growth in existing as well as new markets.
Bonnier-owned SF Bio is Sweden's biggest cinema chain and
also operates movie theatres in Norway - in total 43 cinemas
with 38,000 seats. Finnkino, owned by Ratos, is Finland's top
player with 24 cinemas and 27,000 seats and also distributes
films and DVDs.
The two cinema chains would continue to operate under their
own brand names and would have operations in Sweden, Finland and
Norway as well as in the Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and
Lithuania, Ratos and Bonnier said.
The deal depends on approval by competition authorities and
is expected to be completed at the end of April 2013.
($1 = 6.3986 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Niklas Pollard; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)