Odeon owner in talks to sell chain for £1bn to AMC Entertainment Holdings

Francesca Washtell
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Investor Syndicate Led By WestLB AG Buys Oseon Cinemas
Odeon and UCI Cinemas Group operates in seven European markets (Source: Getty)

The owner of Odeon is in talks with AMC Entertainment Holdings to sell the cinema chain in a £1bn deal.

Terra Firma Capital Partners, which owns Odeon and UCI Cinemas Group, is in detailed negotiations at an advanced stage with AMC.

An announcement on the sale could be made as early as this week, Sky News first reported. However, sources also told Sky that Odeon was still in an auction process.

AMC's majority shareholder is the world's largest cinema operator, Dalian Wanda Group, which is owned by China's richest man, Wang Jianlin.

Read more: Odeon pins hopes on Star Wars and 007 to narrow 2014 losses

The Odeon and UCI Cinemas Group sale was first announced last February, and Dalian Wanda was linked to the sale in October.

The Chinese group had denied reports in September that it was interested in acquiring the chain and later released a statement that said the company had "no intention" of purchasing it.

Odeon and UCI Cinemas Group were snapped up separately by Terra Firma founder Guy Hands in 2004 for £566m and £310m respectively, before they were merged to create the joint entity.

Private equity bidders previously circled the chain in 2010, while in 2013 Hands had appointed JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs to arrange a £1bn sale.

As of December 2015, the company operated 243 cinemas (and 2,238 screens) in the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Portugal and Ireland.

Terra Firma Capital Partners declined to comment.

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