Bert, Claeys fused as Kinepolis Group

Belgian exhibs the Bert Group and the Claeys Group, which have been building cinemas together under the Kinepolis brand name for more than a decade, will merge their interests legally Dec. 5.

The new company, Kinepolis Group Holding, will also launch onto the stock exchange “in the near future in order to fund additional expansion into other territories,” a spokesperson for the company told Daily Variety.

Kinepolis began more than a decade ago building the first of a new wave of multiplexes in Belgium, and has been so successful that the Bert and Claeys families, who are related by marriage, are now slapping together theaters in France, Holland, Luxembourg, Spain, and India.

Kinepolis announced a year ago it wanted to expand to other territories inside Europe, including Hungary, but the two companies needed only the kind of capital that could be raised on the bourse to finance additional projects.

Merger plans were held up by Belgian competition authorities who charged the two families controlled a 50% share of the exhib market, but Belgium’s Competition Commission relented and approved the merger on Nov. 17.

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