India plexes move closer to merger

Inox staves off Reliance challenge to acquire Fame

LONDON — Indian multiplex chain Inox Leisure may finally complete its merger with former rival Fame Multiplexes next week. Inox had acquired a 43% stake in Fame in March 2010 for $14.5 million and followed that up by acquiring a further 7.21%. Inox then made an open offer to shareholders to buy 20% more.

But Indian multiplex market leader Reliance Big Cinemas challenged the deal saying its higher offer had been rejected and took up the matter with Indian financial regulatory bodies. Reliance also made a public offer for 52% of Fame, though Inox already owned 50%.

The Reliance challenge now appears to be staved off, since Inox has filed papers with the Bombay Stock Exchange detailing the proposed merger. The Inox board meets June 15 to discuss the deal.

The Inox-Fame merger will make the new entity India’s second-largest multiplex chain with 252 screens. Reliance has 260.

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