BRITISH cinema chain Cineworld has bought independent film theatre operator Picturehouse, which gives the company access to an arthouse film audience.
Cineworld, which runs about 80 cinemas in the UK, is issuing new shares to help finance the cash deal, which values privately-owned Picturehouse at £47.3m. The transaction will enable Picturehouse – the trading name of City Screen Group – to open in more than 10 new locations, adding to the 21 sites it currently operates, including the trendy Ritzy in South London and the Phoenix in Oxford.
“We recognise that Picturehouse is valued by its customers and we look forward to supporting the business through the next phase of its development,” said Stephen Wiener, chief executive of Cineworld.
Picturehouse will operate as a separate entity within the Cineworld Group and continue to be run by the existing Picturehouse management team.
Cineworld is looking to new releases like The Hobbit to keep its box office revenues flowing over Christmas.