Blackstone Group acquires Cine-UK

US private equity firm Blackstone Group has acquired Cine-UK, the British cinema chain, in a deal thought to be worth around £120m.

Cine-UK, a UK chain of cinemas, has been acquired by US LBO house Blackstone Group via a management buyout. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but prior reports indicated that the consideration was around £120 million (€174 million; $214 million).

The business was acquired from a private equity consortium including Botts & Co, JP Morgan Partners and RIT Capital Partners.

Last month, Blackstone was outbid for the Odeon cinema chain, which was sold to Terra Firma Capital Partners for around £400 million. At the same time, Terra Firma also acquired the UK and European network of cinema operator UCI for around £180 million.

Cine-UK owns and operates Cineworld, a chain of 35 cinemas with 361 screens. The group was set up in 1995, when Botts & Co agreed to back Steve Wiener and bring in the two other venture capital providers. Between them the trio committed to invest £27 million of equity capital in the start-up, of which approximately £18 million was subsequently drawn down, according to a source familiar with the situation. 

In June 2004, it appeared that former Carlton Communications chief executive Michael Green was poised to buy Cine-UK as part of an agreement in which JP Morgan Partners would help him finance offers for Odeon and UCI. But it is understood the agreement fell through when JP Morgan Partners instead opted to finance the purchase of US-based AMC Entertainment in July.

Blackstone was advised on its acquisition of Cine-UK by UK law firm Olswang and Simpson Thacher of the US. Meanwhile, the selling consortium was advised by Lovells.