Reliance ADA Ready to Sell Indian Cinema Circuit, Reports Say

HONG KONG – Reliance MediaWorks, a subsidiary of the Reliance ADA Group that has a major stake in Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks, is preparing to sell its Indian theaters, according to reports.

The company is in advanced negotiations to sell its Big Cinemas circuit to an unidentified private equity firm, according to Indian business media. RMW is also reported to be holding similar talks with PVR and Inox Leisure, the country’s two largest cinema operators.

Big Cinemas operates some 280 screens across India, making it the third-largest circuit. Born from the Adlabs group that Reliance ADA acquired in 2006, Big Cinemas was previously the largest exhibitor in India. But it lost ground to its smaller rivals because it opened too many single-screen cinemas and missed some key acquisitions.

Deeply loss-making, RMW was taken off the stock market earlier this year in order to help its restructuring. It has three sub-divisions: cinema exhibition in India and the U.S.; production services and studio management; and TV production.

Last week it was announced that RMW’s wide-ranging production services activities will be merged with those of Prime Focus, leaving Prime Focus in management control and Reliance ADA’s investment structures holding a sizeable minority stake. At the time of the announcement Reliance ADA said that the move was part of its strategy to divest non-core assets and reduce its borrowings.

Contacted by Variety about the Big Cinemas negotiations, RMW chose not to respond.

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