Blackstone tries again with Cineworld

The Blackstone Group will this week make its third attempt to float Cineworld, a UK cinema group expected to be valued at about £240 million. The buyout firm has already cancelled two previous public offerings because of adverse market conditions.

Cineworld, a UK cinema group owned by US buyout firm The Blackstone Group, has revealed plans to make a third attempt to list on the London stock exchange this week.

The offering, which will take place on Friday, is expected to value the company at about £240 million (€353 million; $481 million).

Cineworld revealed its plans to float in a statement to the stock exchange yesterday. It said that its indicative offer price would be between 155 pence and 185 pence per share, equating to a market capitalisation of £235.5 million to £245.9 million.

Blackstone has owned Cineworld since October 2004. Last year it twice cancelled its flotation plans for the cinema group, in May and September, citing adverse market conditions. Cineworld was also reportedly a target for rival chain Odeon, which is owned by buyout firm Terra Firma, but the two sides failed to reach agreement.

Blackstone will retain a stake of about 50 percent following the flotation, and plans to use the proceeds to pay down debt.

Cineworld, which was founded in 1995, accounted for about 26 percent of all cinema tickets sold in the UK last year. It recorded profits of £46 million on revenues of £265 million.

JPMorgan Cazenove and Lehman Brothers will act as joint global co-ordinators, joint bookrunners and joint sponsors for the offering.