UK cinema exhibitor Vue Entertainment is to be sold by private equity group Doughty Hanson to Canadian investment companies OMERS Private Equity and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) for £935m ($1,453.2m). Doughty Hanson acquired Vue from its former owner Cavendish Square Partners in 2010 for £450m ($699.6m). Hence, the value has more than doubled in the three year period, which is largely driven by its expansion in the past 12 months.
Vue has experienced significant expansion during Doughty Hanson's ownership with the number of cinemas doubling from around 70 to 146 sites. There were three major acquisitions during this period. In May 2012, Vue acquired Apollo Cinema in the UK with 14 sites 83 screens (four sites sold to Reel Cinema later). In July 2012, the acquisition of German exhibitor CinemaxX added another 34 cinemas with 292 screens. The most recent deal was Multikino in Poland in May 2013 with 246 screens across 30 sites. Now the combined group has 146 sites and 1,321 screens across the world (UK, Ireland, Germany, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, Baltics and Taiwan). With the new ownership, Vue states that it will continue to look for new expansion opportunity in Europe in the next 12 to 18 months. As at end March 2013, acording to research by IHS Screen Digest, Vue was the ninth largest global exhibitor, one of only two European groups in the list of 12 circuits exceeding 1,000 screens (Odeon is the other and comes in at sixth). Interestingly, seven of these 12 companies were single-country exhibitors whereas five had multi-territory operations.