U.K. Exhibitor Vue Acquires Apollo Cinemas

Vue Cinema - P 2012

Vue Cinema - P 2012

The combined movie theater business will have 85 U.K. multiplexes as the private equity-backed industry giant shells out $32 million for the smaller independent firm.

LONDON - U.K. movie theater giant Vue Entertainment has acquired the Apollo Cinemas U.K. circuit of 14 cinemas, the country's largest independent exhibition group. 

The combined company will have 85 multiplexes with close to 800 screens, the firms said. Apollo is a fairly small player in an industry dominated by three big companies and is best known for its screens in Piccadilly Circus.

Financial terms weren't disclosed, but the Financial Times said it was worth 20 million pounds ($32.25 million). Vue is owned by private equity groups.

"Their 14 cinemas are built to very high specifications complete with Dolby digital surround sound and large wall-to-wall screens," said Vue CEO Tim Richards about the Apollo theaters. "The cinemas are also 100 percent equipped with Sony’s superb market leading digital 4K projectors, which are the same as those being rolled out across Vue. These high-quality cinemas perfectly complement Vue’s existing circuit of 71 cinemas."

Beyond the U.K. and Ireland, Vue also has a movie theater in Faro, Portugal and a multiplex with 15 screens in Taipei, Taiwan. It has said that so far, about 60 percent of the U.K. population lives within a 30-minute drive of one of its theaters.

Apollo, smaller than industry giants Odeon, Cineworld and Vue, has annual revenue of 20 million pounds, but has brought in losses. It started a strategic review last year.

Said Apollo Cinemas' Simon Gregg: “I believe that the sale of my late mother’s company to Vue will place the circuit in good hands. We are very proud of what we have achieved and wish all our employees even more success in the future. Being part of Vue allows them new opportunities to progress their careers with the UK’s leading cinema company.”

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai