Doughty Hanson, one of the largest independent private equity firms in Europe, today announces that Doughty Hanson & Co. V has sold Vue Entertainment (“Vue”), a highly successful world-class operator of modern state-of-the-art multiplex cinemas, to OMERS Private Equity and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) for a total of £935m. The transaction is expected to close by late July / August 2013.
Vue Entertainment was acquired in December 2010 for £450m. In the period of ownership, Vue has been transformed from the third largest operator in the UK into a pan-European market leader and one of the largest cinema operators in the world. It has doubled the number of cinemas under its ownership from 70 to 146 and the number of screens has been increased from 678 to 1,321.
Doughty Hanson has supported Vue with three accretive acquisitions in the period. It acquired Apollo Cinemas in the UK in May 2012, CinemaxX, Germany’s second largest operator in July 2012, and most recently agreed to acquire Multikino, the second largest operator in Poland, in May 2013. Doughty Hanson has also supported the Company rolling out state-of-the-art digital technology across the circuit, opening new cinemas such as the highly successful 17 screen Vue Stratford, and delivering even greater choice for its customers through the screening of sport, opera and other events.
Doughty Hanson and its LP Co-investors have more than doubled their investment in Vue. This sale is Doughty Hanson’s second realisation from Doughty Hanson & Co. V, which has now returned 52% of commitments to investors with a further six investments still to realise. It also represents Doughty Hanson’s fourth successful exit in the last twelve months. The total return to investors from these exits, which include the successful IPOs of TUMI and HellermannTyton and the sale of Norit, now rises to c. €2bn.
Commenting on the transaction Julian Huxtable, a partner at Doughty Hanson said: “We have enjoyed working with Tim Richards and his excellent management team at Vue to deliver significant value for all our stakeholders, and we wish them well in the future. It has been a successful and exciting investment, helping the company to develop into one of the world’s largest cinema operators with the most advanced technology, and industry leading operating metrics. We said at the time of the acquisition that Vue offered a strong platform for growth and we are pleased to have been able to take advantage of this opportunity to return significant cash to our investors.”
Tim Richards, Founder and CEO of Vue, will stay with the business. He said today: “It has been a pleasure to work with Doughty Hanson during this stage of the company’s development. The team has made a major contribution to the ongoing growth and success of the business and I have been very grateful for their commitment and support. As the company moves forward I am confident that we do so from a position of real strength. We will continue to build on this success by innovating, enhancing and growing the Vue business through our continuing plan for organic growth supplemented by strategic acquisitions.”