December 12, 2014 / 3:16 AM / 5 years ago

China's ID Leisure planning to buy Australian cinema group Hoyts - source

SYDNEY, Dec 12 (Reuters) - China’s ID Leisure International Capital plans to buy No. 2 Australian cinema chain The Hoyts Group from buyout firm Pacific Equity Partners in a deal expected to fetch about A$900 million ($743 million), a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The prospect of a private sale of Hoyts indicates the cooling attitude of vendors toward Australian initial public offerings as plummeting commodities prices cause volatility on the country’s share market.

PEP, Australia’s largest private equity firm, has put its plan to list Hoyts in early 2015 on hold as it favours a sale to ID Leisure, said the person who could not be named because of the sensitivity of the situation.

ID Leisure is an investment vehicle owned by Chinese real estate billionaire Sun Xishuang, Australian media reported. Xishuang is a major shareholder of China’s Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co Ltd IPO-DWC.SS, which two years ago bought America’s AMC Theatres for $2.6 billion.

No sale price was given for the Hoyts sale but PEP, which has hired investment bank UBS AG to help offload the cinema chain, has been expecting about A$900 million for it, banking sources told Reuters previously.

The buyout group bought Hoyts from a consortium involving Australian casino billionaire James Packer for A$440 million in 2007.

A PEP spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

$1 = 1.2104 Australian dollars Additional reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Stephen Coates

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