Palace Cinemas Central Europe has announced the acquisition of nine Hollywood Multiplex sites from AndyVajna's production, distribution and exhibitioncompany InterCom.

Palace Cinemas would notdisclose the value of the asset-purchase arrangement.

Of the nine sites, five arein the capital of Budapest and one is to open in November.

The asset purchase agreementadds 56 screens to Palace Cinemas' Hungarian network, making it the largestexhibitor in the country.

Palace Cinemas acquired theBudapest Film site at the Mammut shopping centre in Budapest last year. With the new acquisitions, Palace Cinemashas 170 screens at 20 sites across the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

Hungarian box offices saw3.9m admissions in 2005. InterCom was the topexhibitor, with 3.4m admissions. Palace Cinemas saw roughly 2m admissions.

Originally known as UnitedCinemas International (Central Europe), Palace Cinemas wasofficially launched in December 1999 to develop multiplexes in Central Europe as a joint venture with United CinemasInternational. Since then, private-equity firm ARGUS Capital Partners hasassumed complete control of the circuit as a stand-alone operation.

Palace Cinemas has developedits own box office and concession management software system known as End2Endand maintains the only two digital projectors in the region, in Budapest and in Prague. Palace Cinemas also operates Palacemedia,a cinema ad sales group, and Palace Pictures, a film distribution arm, in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.