U.K. exhib operator expands into Germany

BERLIN — The U.K.’s Vue Entertainment is set to take over Herbert Kloiber’s German multiplex chain Cinemaxx as it seeks to build a pan-European exhib group.

Vue announced on Tuesday its bid to acquire all outstanding shares in Cinemaxx through a voluntary public takeover offer.

Kloiber, owner and chief exec of German film and TV company Tele Muenchen Group, currently controls some 85% of Cinemaxx shares and is backing Vue’s offer.

“By combining two major cinema operators, Vue will make the important strategic move to create a new Pan-European cinema group covering the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Denmark and Portugal,” the group said in a statement.

The combined group will operate 119 state-of-the-art multiplex cinemas with close to 1,100 screens that attract more than 55 million moviegoers a year.

Vue is offering Euros 6.45 ($7.94) per share in cash — a 45% premium on Cinemaxx’s closing share price on Monday. The share price soared more than 40% following Tuesday’s announcement to its current $7.73.

Vue and Kloiber have inked a share purchase agreement in which Vue agreed to acquire Kloiber’s 22,806,450 shares in Cinemaxx.

The offer remains subject to merger control clearance in Germany. Vue is aiming to close the transaction in the third or fourth quarter of the year.

“CinemaxX is a great circuit with superb modern multiplex cinemas offering fantastic infrastructure, including 100% stadium seating, digital projection and 3D,” said Vue CEO Tim Richards. “Moving into continental Europe has been part of our strategic plan since Vue was launched in 2003, and we firmly believe that the new group will drive increased cinema-going by offering a best in class superior cinema-going experience.”

Kloiber, who acquired a majority stake in Cinemaxx eight years ago, praised Cinemaxx CEO Christian Gisy and his team for transforming “Cinemaxx into a very profitable and debt-free company. Today, Cinemaxx is well positioned to pursue an expansion course.”

Cinemaxx consists of 34 cinemas with more than 290 screens and some 75,000 seats. The company operates 31 cinemas in Germany and three in Denmark, and served 16.3 million customers last year.

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