India's PVR to Acquire $4 Million Stake in U.S. Luxury Cinema Chain iPic

PVR Cinemas - H 2017
Courtesy of PVR Cinemas

A PVR Cinema in Mumbai

India's largest cinema chain will get a 2 percent stake, marking the first time the company has invested in a foreign cinema chain.

India’s largest cinema chain, PVR Cinemas, has agreed to acquire a small stake in U.S. luxury cinema chain iPic Gold Class Entertainment.

iPic owns and operates 16 theaters with 121 screens across 10 U.S. states. The deal marks the first time PVR has invested in a foreign cinema chain.

"We are investing $4 million for a stake of about 2 percent," PVR CFO Nitin Sood told The Hollywood Reporter. He explained that the "main objective of this investment is to draw learnings from iPic about luxury cinemas and apply that to India." 

iPic's facilities combine luxury cinemas with an upscale restaurant and a full-service bar. The company says it gets 51 percent of its revenue from its food and beverage business, while box office contributes about 31 percent. The balance comes from other sources, such as memberships and sponsorships.

In a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange Thursday, PVR said that its board of directors had approved the proposed investment, which “is subject to receipt of relevant corporate and regulatory approvals.”

iPic previously announced plans to file for an IPO. PVR said that the company has agreed to appoint PVR chairman and managing director Ajay Bijli to its board upon completion of its IPO. 

iPic's key shareholders include Australia’s largest exhibitor, Village Roadshow, and U.S. exhibition giant Regal Entertainment Group recently invested $12 million in the company.

PVR originally started as a joint venture between Bijli’s Priya Exhibitors and Village Roadshow, which launched India’s first multiplex in 1997 in the capital New Delhi. However, Village Roadshow divested its stake in PVR in 2002.

The company currently runs a cinema circuit of more than 600 screens in 51 cities, which also includes some luxury cinemas.

In January, Warburg Pincus acquired a stake of about 14 percent in PVR for about $120 million. Bijli will get the exhibitor of the year award at this year’s CineAsia event in Hong Kong in December.