Mercapital locks in exhib Cinebox

$75 mil deal for 294 screens inked Monday

Spanish private equity company Mercapital has bought Spanish cinema loop Cinebox, which will merge with Mercapital’s Abaco to create the biggest theater chain in Spain, Abaco-Cinebox, with 465 screens.

The E60 million ($75.5 million) deal for Cinebox’s 27 sites and 294 screens was inked Monday between Mercapital and Cinebox owner, Spanish real estate developer GMR.

GMR has been angling to get rid of the Cinebox loop for months to focus on a luxury theater brand, Lux Cinemas GMR, unveiled last week in Madrid.

Cinebox toppers Ramon Serra and Luis Miguel Martin will join Lux as its director general and director of expansion and marketing respectively. Lux will incorporate the sites bowed by Cinebox from 2006.

The deal further concentrates Spain’s exhibition sector, which won’t make life any easier for Hollywood studios in Spain.

Abaco-Cinebox, Cinesa and Yelmo Cineplex own 915 screens — some 35% of commercial sites in Spain — and they are already flexing their muscle.

Yelmo sources declared Friday that it had not accepted BVI’s rental terms to exhibit “Scary Movie 4,” which bows June 23 in Madrid. It is quite possible that neither Abaco-Cinebox nor Cinesa will show the film either.

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