Vue International Buys CineStar, Germany's Top Multiplex Chain

Tim Richards, CEO Vue International
Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tim Richards, CEO Vue International

The deal values CineStar, which operates 449 screens on 57 sites, at up to $256 million, and follows Vue's acquisition of Germany's CinemaxX in 2012.

British theater giant Vue International has signed a deal to acquire Germany's leading multiplex chain CineStar in a deal that values CineStar at up to $256 million (221.8 million euros). Vue will pay $150 million (130 million euros) up front for CineStar with an additional variable consideration of up to $106 million (91.8 million euros). The seller is current owner, Australian group Event.

The deal, for CineStar's 449 screens over 57 sites, is Vue's biggest acquisition to date and makes the group's the clear number one in the German exhibition market. 

Vue said the deal showed its continuing confidence in the European market and in the future of the international exhibition industry. CineStar is Vue's third major acquisition this year, following deals to buy Cinema3D in Poland and Showtime Cinemas in Ireland. Vue already owns CinemaxX, CineStar's main multiplex competitor in Germany.

“(This) further reinforces our commitment to international expansion,” said Vue International founder and CEO Tim Richards. “Germany is an extremely important cinema market and is consistently in the top 10 box-office markets in the world. The acquisition of CineStar supports our strategic and business objectives of developing and owning the highest quality cinema assets globally.”

CineStar is known for its upscale multiplexes, including the theaters in the Sony Center on Potsdamer Platz or the Cubix complex on Alexanderplatz in Berlin. The company also has a strong presence in rural Germany.

The Vue deal still needs to pass regulatory approval from German authorities.

Europe isn't the only territory where Vue International has expansion plans. Earlier this year, the British group said it had signed a deal with Saudi Arabia's Abdulmohsin Al Hokair Holding Group, to built up to 30 multiplexes in the Kingdom.

It is unclear if that deal is still going ahead, amid mounting international pressure on the film industry to boycott the Saudis following the murder of journalist Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi.