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Cineworld takes UGC

Combination creates Blighty's second largest loop

LONDON — The consolidation of the U.K. exhibition business has continued, with Cineworld U.K. announcing its acquisition of UGC’s loop.

The combination of the Cine-U.K. and UGC theaters will create Britain’s second-largest circuit, after the recently merged Odeon-UCI.

Cineworld is controlled by U.S. venture capitalist Blackstone Group, which bought it in October. It reportedly paid around $400 million for the UGC theaters.

Lawrence Guffey, senior managing director of Blackstone, said, “This latest transaction reaffirms our commitment to the U.K. cinema market, which we continue to believe offers attractive growth prospects.”

The U.K.’s three big chains — Odeon, Cineworld and Vue, which took over the Warner Village multiplexes in 2004 year — are now owned by venture capital groups rather than film companies.

UGC has 408 screens in 42 theaters.

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