A Korean film giant is looking to acquire UK-headquartered cinema chain Vue International in a deal that could value the business at £2bn.
CJ-CGV has in recent weeks been seeking out investment bankers to advise on a potential bid, according to Sky News.
Vue’s owners, Canadian pension funds Omers and Aimco are thought to be planning a dual-track sale process next year with the aim of either selling to a trade buyer or floating on the stock market.
In July, The Daily Telegraph reported the chain had appointed bankers Rothschild and JP Morgan to explore its options.
Former ITV chief executive Adam Crozier was made chairman in September in a move widely seen as an attempt to bolster Vue’s credibility as a potential listed business.
Last month the chain said it was “continuing to evaluate all strategic options and opportunities”.
“No decisions have been made and nothing has been ruled out,” it said.
A sale could net Vue’s management a windfall worth hundreds of millions of pounds as executives sit on a combined stake of 27pc.
CJ-CGV is part of the massive CJ “chaebol” conglomerate, which began as a sugar manufacturer in 1953 and was originally part of Samsung.
The cinema giant acquired Turkey’s Mars Cinema for $800m (£610m) two years ago. It is the creator of 4DX technology, which combines films with special effects such as moving seats, wind, water and scents and is used by Cineworld in the UK.
Vue, which employs 9,500 people, made a loss of £103.2m last year on revenues of £772.5m.
The company operates 212 cinemas, including 87 in the UK, 124 in mainland Europe and one in Taiwan.
Last week it was reported that Vue is in talks to open the first cinemas in Saudi Arabia since they were banned in the kingdom 35 years ago.
Source: Daily Telegraph