Vue Cinemas sold in £935m deal

Vue runs the UK's highest grossing cinema at Shepherd's Bush Westfield shopping centre
Image caption Vue now runs more than 140 cinemas in the UK and Europe

The Vue cinema chain has been sold by private equity firm Doughty Hanson to Canadian investors for £935m.

Vue, which has 146 cinemas in the UK and Europe, said the deal offered "significant value for stakeholders".

It is being bought by Canada's OMERS Private Equity and Alberta Investment Management, who are expected to further expand the chain.

The sale will make a significant profit for Doughty Hanson, which bought Vue in 2010 for just £450m.

At that time it operated 70 cinemas, all in the UK.

Since then it has expanded aggressively into Europe.

Last year it bought Germany's second largest cinema chain CinemaxX and more recently it snapped up Multikino - the second largest cinema chain in Poland.

Last year, Vue said box office revenues rose 3.2% in UK and Ireland, topping £1bn for the fourth consecutive year.

But the chain, which runs the UK's highest grossing cinema at Shepherd's Bush Westfield shopping centre, said cinema attendance only increased slightly - up just 0.6% compared with 2011.

Doughty Hanson partner Julian Huxtable said Vue had been a "successful and exciting investment".

"We are pleased to have been able to take advantage of this opportunity to return significant cash to our investors," he added.

Vue's current management team will continue to run the business.

Tim Richards, founder and chief executive of Vue, said the chain's expansion would continue to be "supplemented by strategic acquisitions". He later told the Financial Times he would be "very interested in having a look at Odeon".

Mark Redman, senior managing director and head of Europe for OMERS Private Equity said the new ownership gave Vue "the distinct advantage of patient capital and deep pockets for organic and acquisitive growth."

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