Hoyts exhib topper makes surprise exit

Walters let go despite new deal

SYDNEY — Darin Walters, chief exec of Hoyts exhibition, was let go Friday, just one week after Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd. shareholders approved a deal to buy Hoyts in a joint venture with West Australian Newspapers.

Timing of Walters’ exit surprised other exhibs, as he had presided over a conference of Hoyts managers in Cairns, North Queensland, only two weeks ago.

Moreover, in February, Walters implemented a restructuring which resulted in the pinkslipping of 28 out of approximately 50 staffers from its Sydney headquarters (Daily Variety, Feb. 11)

The Kerry Packer-controlled PBL and WAN bought Hoyts, which comprises 377 screens at 47 sites in Oz and New Zealand, plus Hoyts Distribution and screen advertising contractor Val Morgan, for A$347 million ($260 million), from Packer’s privately-held Consolidated Press Holdings.

A Harvard MBA, Walters was chief exec of CEO of Blackmores ., a publicly listed health supplements company, for nearly four years until October 2003. He joined Hoyts in January 2004.

PBL has bullishly forecast Hoyts’ earnings before tax, depreciation and amortization will hit $44 million in the fiscal year ending June 30 and will rise to $53.6 million in the following year.

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