The UK cinema chain is strategizing now that Lloyds Banking Group wants to sell its 29% share of the company. Lloyds is selling off stakes in various companies it inherited when it bought rival UK bank HBOS. One option might be to sell Vue Entertainment entirely. Others include refinancing or acquisitions.
The advisor will help Vue Entertainment CEO Tim Richards and Deputy CEO Alan McNair make up their minds over the next few months. Lloyds cannot sell its shares without their agreement. Richards and McNair own 51% of the business between them. “Shares in Vue can’t directly be sold without our consent,” Vue Entertainment CEO Tim Richards tells me.
Lloyds has chosen a good moment to get its money out while the excitement over 3D lasts. Vue, which operates 68 sites, has 100 equipped for 3D. Forthcoming 3D titles include Shrek Forever After on July 2 and Toy Story 3 on July 23.
Competition concerns would inhibit Vue from doing anything at home apart from small, piecemeal acquisitions though, says research firm Dodona Research. Showcase is apparently no longer on the market. Apollo Cinemas is one possibility but may be a bad fit. “The only source of significant expansion lies overseas,” says Dodona MD Karsten-Peter Grummit.