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Cineworld completes $124m deal for five Empire cinemas

Acqusitions include the nine-screen Empire Leicester Square [pictured], while Cineworld Haymarket will be taken over by Empire.

Cineworld, the second largest exhibitor in the UK, has completed a deal with Cinema Holdings Limited, the parent company of the Empire Cinema chain, for the sale of five of Empire’s UK cinema sites.

The $124m (£94m) sale includes the prestigious nine-screen Empire Leicester Square location in London’s West End, which features one of only two IMAX screens with laser projection in the UK (alongside Cineworld Sheffield) and is also the widest cinema screen in the country.

The other sites are the 18-screen multiplex in Basildon, the 17-screen Hemel Hempstead site, the 16-screen multiplex in Poole and a smaller, four-screen location in Bromley.

As part of the $124m deal, Cineworld’s three-screen Haymarket location will be taken over by Empire.

The transaction will be comprised of 50% cash and 50% Cineworld shares and is expected to be closed before the end of next month.

The four multiplex sites – Leicester Square, Basildon, Hemel Hempstead and Poole – will all take on Cineworld branding, while the company are mulling converting the smaller Bromley location into a Picturehouse cinema, the brand that it purchased for £47.3m ($62.3m) in 2012.

Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger commented on the acquisition: “[This deal] underscores our commitment to operating high quality and modern cinemas across all of our nine operating countries, and our mission to be the best place to watch a movie.

Empire chairman Thomas Anderson added: “[Cineworld’s] reputation as good operators gives me confidence in a bright future for the cinemas and their employees, and as a shareholder in Cineworld, I trust the company’s ownership will enable it to maximise the value of these premium assets as part of its continued growth.”

Readers' comments (5)

  • As Chair of Bromley Civic Society I welcome the news that Cineworld are considering turning the Bromley Empire into a Picture House. As a former Odeon built in 1936 this fine historic cinema is in the heart of the Town Centre Conservation Area (David Bowie country) and vital to the economy and cultural life of the area with many adjacent restaurants and pubs servicing cinema goers. The Society does urge the company to follow the Picture House path which so many of us living here have been hoping for. Tony Banfield

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  • Please make it a Picture House. As a Bromley resident I, and many people I know, would welcome a local cinema showing the kind of films we currently have to travel to Brixton or E Dulwich Picture Houses to see. There is currently no variety of choice for those who prefer arthouse, world , and independent cinema. There is already the Odeon, and now the Vue coming to S Bromley for those who like blockbusters and mainstream cinema. We need something bit different.

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  • What a terrible idea. Cineworld is Bromley's only cinema presently and should be showing mainstream films. Vue Bromley is unlikely to open until 2018 therefore leave the new Cineworld Bromley as such until at least that time. Only then would it make sense to offer the type of films shown at a Picture House, so to provide a different and more varied offering then Vue.

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  • Bromley cinema is certainly not vital to the economy and cultural life of the area. It is usually very empty and frankly was a run down cinema under Empire's ownership. I hope Cineworld can revive it.

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  • sfmorris

    I'm not sure where people think all this demand for cinemas in Bromley is going to come from. The Odeon/Empire/Cineworld has suffered from years of underinvestment and sits largely empty.

    The Odeon at Beckenham is OK and popular - great building, but listed status restricts improvements to facilities. The new Odeon in Orpington is a very good modern cinema, albeit modestly sized.

    So what becomes of Cineworld when the Vue opens at the other end of the high street and intu's boutique cinema appears on the roof of the shopping centre?

    I have great memories of going to the cinema in Bromley as a kid. But if I ever go there now, it's for cheap early morning films with the kids.

    Perhaps the Picture House route would work in Bromley when the new mainstream competition launches. It's certainly an option that Odeon or Empire wouldn't have had. But it's going to need investment - starting with a jolly good clean, inside and out!

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