Vue sold in secondary

Vue Entertainment, a developer and operator of cinemas, has been sold in a secondary buyout transaction to Bank of Scotland corporate, through its integrated finance team. The bank has backed the incumbent management team, led by CEO Tim Richards, in a deal valued at approximately £350m and is taking a minority stake in the business. The transaction marks an exit for previous investors Boston Ventures, Clarity Partners and Legal & General Ventures.

May 2003 saw the creation of the rebranded Vue following SBC International Cinema’s acquisition of the Warner Village Cinema chain. The purchase of 36 Warner Village sites nationwide boosted the total number of multiplex cinemas from six to 42 overall with a total of 384 UK screens at the time.

Boston Ventures, which founded SBC in 1998, provided significant additional funding for the original transaction and was joined by Clarity Partners and Legal & General Ventures. CIBC World Markets provided debt financing for the acquisition. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

The secondary buyout will allow management to continue with the growth of the business, which over the past two years has seen the company’s market share of the UK and Irish box office increase to over 20%. Vue’s circuit has now reached a landmark of 55 cinemas with 544 screens and 126,351 seats, which attract over 30 million customers per annum.

Vue is also acquiring the five new Village Roadshow multiplex cinemas in the UK and expansion continues with four new sites due to open later this year in Swansea, Cleveleys, Exeter and Lancaster. These initiatives follow Vue’s acquisition of the Ster Century cinema chain in May 2005 and reinforce the company’s commitment to further growth that will see the opening of an additional 10 new multiplexes over the next two to three years.