Odeon Cinemas, the UK's largest exhibition group, could soon change hands again, with private investment group, Cinven said to be readying a sale.

According to reports in Sunday newspaper Business, Cinven is seeking $720m (£450m) for the operation.

Odeon operates over 1,000 screens in some 160 sites and lost $11m (£7m) in 2001. But it is expected to have turned a profit last year. Odeon has been boosted by the soaring theatrical admissions, which now make the UK the world's third most valuable BO territory.

Cinven last year launched a bond with interest payments secured against theatrical receipts, a first in financing history. The proceeds were used to reduce Odeon's debts and cut the size of Cinven's investment in the chain. Odeon's property assets are said to be worth $480m (£300m) alone.