UK movie theatre operator Cineworld is to acquire around 100 multiplexes from Eastern Europe exhibitor Cinema City International (CCI) for £503 million ($828 million). Cineworld will pay £272 million ($448 million) in cash and the remaining amount will be raised through launching shares. Under the agreement, CCI will receive a 24.9 percent stake in the merged group.
CCI currently operates 99 sites with a total of 966 screens across seven counties. They are Poland (31 sites, 339 screens), Hungary (20 sites, 176 screens), Bulgaria (6 sites, 65 screens), Israel (11 sites, 104 screens), Czech Republic (13 sites, 111 screens), Romania (15 sites, 142 screens) and Slovakia (3 sites, 29 screens).
Cineworld currently has 81multiplexes with 830 screens, including one in Ireland (17 screens) and one in Jersey (10 screens). Both exhibitors have an ambitious plan to further growth. CCI is planning to add 377 new screens in the next three years, while Cineworld has already signed deals for another 169 screens. The combined group, with a total of 180 sites and 1,796 screens, will become the second largest cinema chains in European market and the eighth largest exhibitor in the world.
In 2013, Vue Entertainment, one of Cineworld's strong competitors in UK, also went international with several significant acquisitions in Europe. Now the exhibition structure in Europe will change again with the Cineworld and CCI merger. Based on total screen count, UCI Odeon will still lead the European market. Cineworld will overtake Vue into the second place and Vue will rank third on the list. The top three exhibitors in Europe are now all from UK.