German theater chains to form a joint venture

BERLIN — Germany’s biggest movie theater chain, Cinemaxx AG, is staking out new territory after taking over 51% of rival Omniplex.

The move could be seen as a sign of things to come in the country’s saturated movie house market.

The two companies are forming a joint venture, which Cinemaxx will manage and finance. According to the takeover agreement, Cinemaxx has the right to bring all Omniplex theaters into the subsidiary company. They will probably become Cinemaxx movie houses.

That was the deciding factor for the Hamburg-based Cinemaxx, according to company spokesman Thomas Schultz. Omniplex had been looking for a majority partner for some time, but Cinemaxx held out for the best deal.

Cinemaxx’s first step will be to take over four Omniplex cinemas in the cities of Oldenburg, Hanover, Osnabruek and Pforzheim. The company is also looking at other Omniplex sites to bring into its fold. Cinemaxx currently runs 21 multiplexes. With its new majority share in Omniplex, that will rise to 30 this year.

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