Combination to create India's largest chain
MUMBAIIndian multiplex chain PVR is acquiring a 69% stake in competing operator Cinemax India to create India’s largest chain. The stake, owned by the Kanakia Group, was sold for Rupees 3.95 billion ($72.1 million) at $3.71 a share. The new chain will have 335 screens, compared with the 260 screens operated by billionaire Anil Ambani’s Big Cinemas. Shares in Cinemax rose by 5% at close of trading on Thursday to end at $3.36, and PVR stock rose by 6.4% to close at $4.60 per share. PVR began in 1995 as a 60:40 joint venture between India’s Priya Exhibitors and Australia’s Village Roadshow. In 2003, Village Roadshow exited the venture. Multiplexes in India account for less than 15% of India’s 12,000 screens, but collected a third of all box office revenue in 2011, according to a KPMG report. Plex chains like Latin America’s Cinepolis are expanding in India’s smaller cities as the metropolises are close to saturation.