Last word

Management at cinema operator Vue Entertainment and HBOS have announced the buyout of the company in a deal valued at about £350m (US$643m). The price is around 25% lower than initial estimates had suggested when Vue’s owners announced they were seeking a buyer in May.

The buyout will see management take a 51% stake in the company, which operates more than 50 cinema complexes in the UK and Ireland, with HBOS subsidiary Bank of Scotland Corporate taking a minority stake. The business is being bought from current owners Boston Ventures, Clarity Partners and Legal & General Ventures.

Spean Bridge Cinemas (SBC), a joint venture between Boston Ventures Management and JPMorgan Partners, a unit of JPMorgan Chase, acquired Warner Village Cinemas from Village Roadshow and Warner Bros Studio Stores, for an estimated £250m (US$392m).

  • HgCapital, the London-based private equity firm, will realise £22m in cash from its investment in ClinPhone, the British supplier to the clinical trials industry. The offer price values ClinPhone at £94.1m (US$173m) and dealing is expected to start on June 23.

At the flotation price, the investment will generate a capital profit of £25.7m for HgCapital, representing an IRR of 37% over nine years.

This is a partial realisation by HgCapital, whose clients will retain a 6.2% stake in the business. HgCapital first invested in the company in 1996. Since then, ClinPhone has developed into a global business that now employs 430 staff.

HgCapital said the three most recent IPOs of its portfolio companies (Paddy Power in December 2000, Xyratex in June 2004 and Raymarine in December 2004) had significantly outperformed their relevant indices in the post-IPO period, demonstrating its ability to build companies capable of achieving long-term growth.

Lindsay Dibden, a partner at HgCapital, said: “We have been an investor in ClinPhone for over nine years, during which time its profits have grown by 49%, compounded annually.”

The decision to exit through an IPO seems to have paid off. Thomson One data shows that in 2000, US clinical supplier CB Technologies signed a letter of intent to acquire ClinPhone but did not complete the transaction.