Vue cinema chain sold for £935m
The backers of cinema chain Vue have reaped the benefits of a two-year expansion drive by selling the business for £935 million.
Under private equity firm Doughty Hanson, Vue Entertainment has grown from 70 cinemas at the time of its takeover in December 2010 to 146 across Europe. The number of screens has risen from 678 to 1,321.
Doughty and its co-investors paid £450 million for the business in 2010 and have more than doubled their investment after agreeing the sale of Vue to Toronto-based Omers Private Equity and Alberta Investment Management.
Vue's expansion included the acquisition of Apollo Cinemas in May last year, as well as Germany's second largest operator CinemaxX in July and Poland's Multikino last month.
The company has also rolled out digital technology across the estate and opened new cinemas such as the 17 screen Vue Stratford in London.
Vue's management team, including founder and chief executive Tim Richards, will retain a substantial stake and continue to run the business.
Mr Richards said more strategic acquisitions were possible as the company continues to plot further growth.
He said: "As the company moves forward, I am confident that we will do so from a position of real strength."
Doughty Hanson partner Julian Huxtable described Vue as a "successful and exciting investment", leading to a significant return of cash for investors. The deal is expected to complete in July or August.