India's Carnival Completes Takeover of Reliance's Big Cinemas Chain

Reliance MediaWorks Big Cinemas

Reliance has concluded the sale of 250 screens in a deal valued at about $113 million.

Reliance Media Works has sold its Big Cinemas chain of movie theaters to South India's Carnival Cinemas in a deal worth about $113 million (7 billion rupees). RMW is owned by DreamWorks partner Reliance ADAG, headed by Anil Ambani.

RMW and Carnival first announced the agreement last December and after due regulatory approvals, the transaction has now been closed for the deal considered the largest in India's multiplex sector which has been going through a consolidation phase.

“We are thankful to Mr Anil Ambani for giving us this opportunity,” Carnival Group chairman Shrikant Bhasi said in a statement. “We have a vision to have 1,000 screens by 2017 and we want to make cinemas synonymous to Carnival.”

With the acquisition of Big Cinemas' 250 screens nationwide, Carnival's screen count has bumped up to 344 screens, making it among the top three multiplex operators in the country. India's largest theatrical chain PVR Cinemas runs 474 screens, acquiring Mumbai-based Cinemax's 138 screens in 2012 for about $63.7 million. The only foreign player in the sector, Mexico's Cinepolis runs 193 screens. It acquired Mumbai-based Fun Cinemas' 83 screens last year in a deal reportedly worth $77 million.