SCPE invests in Korean cinema chain

The private equity arm of Standard Chartered Bank has paid $70 million for a 45 percent stake in Megabox Cineplex.

Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE), the private equity arm of Standard Chartered Bank, has led and completed the $78 million (€63.7 million) acquisition of Korean cinema operator, Megabox Cineplex.

SCPE has purchased a 45 percent stake in Megabox Cineplex, while existing shareholder Mediaplex also acquired an additional 5 percent in the company, making it the majority shareholder with 55 percent, Sokho Jung, SCPE’s head of Korea told PEO.

The vendor was co-founder and joint venture investor, Loews Cineplex, which sold its entire interest in the company.

SCPE financed its $70 million share of the transaction through Standard Chartered Bank’s balance sheet, added Jung.

The bank allocated $500 million for private equity investment across Southeast Asia, South Korea, India and Greater China when SCPE was established in 2002.
 
Founded in 1999 by Loews and Mediaplex, Megabox is one of the leading multiplex theatre operators in Korea with over 15 theatres and 126 screens under its management. Megabox plans to launch three more theatres in 2006, and to expand to 200 screens by 2007, according to a statement.
 
This deal is SCPE’s second in South Korea following a $10 million investment in a pre-IPO IT company in early 2005, Jung said. At the end of 2005, the firm invested $20 million in Singapore-based supplier of customised rubber products, Sei Woo Technologies.