Proving that its taste for acquisitions has not yet been satiated, Kinowelt has taken control of Village Roadshow's German theatrical circuit.

The widely-anticipated deal (ScreenDaily, Sept 27, Oct 31) sees Kinowelt purchase a 25.2% stake in Village Roadshow Exhibition, but obtain management control. Day-to-day operations will be handled by the management of the Kinopolis chain that Kinowelt bought into in May.

The value of the deal was not disclosed, but Kinowelt co-chief Michael Koelmel described it as a "modest investment."

"This gives us control of 17% of German multiplexes and makes us the second biggest operator in the country," said Koelmel, who anticipates synergies in joint marketing and programming by running the two circuits together.

The Village circuit consists of seven complexes in Hamburg, Berlin, Oberhausen, Gelsenkirchen, Moenchengladbach, Magdeburg and Sindelfingen with a total of 59 screens and 14,500 seats. An eighth complex with 14 screens and 4,000 seats in Munich is under construction and due to open at the end of next year.

Kinowelt, which also owns a smaller circuit of art-house screens, says vertical integration such as this allows it to maximise value at all points within the film revenue chain.

Graham Burke, managing director of Village Roadshow, said: "Kinowelt is well positioned to make optimum use of the potential offered by the German cinema market."