U.S. exhib Loews Cineplex has completed the disposal of its 50% stake in South Korea’s No. 2 hardtop operator Megabox Cineplex in an $80 million deal.
Shares were sold to Standard Chartered Private Equity, an investment arm of the U.K.’s Standard Chartered Bank, and Mediaplex, Loews’ longtime local partner in the chain.
Reshuffle raises Mediaplex’s stake from to 55% and gives Standard Chartered 45%.
Mediaplex, a subsidiary of the Orion confectionery giant which also owns the Showbox distribution outfit, formed Megabox in 1999 with Loews.
Group operates 14 plexes and 117 screens, including the 16-screen giant COEX Megabox, which last year attracted 5.8 million spectators.
Loews, which runs 191 theaters and 2,169 screens worldwide is merging with the AMC group and is currently privately owned by Bain Capital, The Carlyle Group and Spectrum Equity Investors.
Merger with AMC is expected to close early this year, subject to federal and state-required theater disposals.
“Megabox has been an excellent investment for Loews, and we are extremely proud of our successful partnership with Mediaplex. Since co-founding the company over six years ago, we have grown Megabox into one of Asia’s premier theatre exhibitors, and this transaction represents a win for everyone involved,” said Travis Reid, prexy and CEO of Loews.
“We are well-positioned to participate in the growing entertainment sector in Korea. Megabox has a great franchise backed by attractive business economics and is run by top quality management team,” said Karam Butalia, global head of Standard Chartered Private Equity.