EXCLUSIVE: Toronto-based private equity firm AIMCo is seeking an exit from Vue International, a leading exhibitor with 212 sites in 10 countries, I’ve learned. It’s understood that AIMCo (short for the Alberta Investment Management Corporation) is currently in discussions about offloading its stake and is talking to a wide range of partners.
AIMCo is one of three major shareholders in Vue International, alongside Toronto-based OMERS and Vue’s management with each retaining approximately a third of the cinema chain. AIMCo and OMERS acquired their stakes in Vue in June 2013 at an enterprise value of £935M ($1.26B at today’s rates). It is not believed that OMERS is seeking a similar divestment.
VUE is in good shape, coming off of its 3rd highest group quarter ever and with admissions at an all-time high in the UK where the exhibitor has most of its sites. The company has been considering an IPO for a while, and brought on ex-ITV boss Adam Crozier in 2017 as non-executive Group Chairman. It’s currently unclear if an IPO is still in the offing.
Founded by Tim Richards in 1999, Vue is active in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Taiwan. It operates 212 sites with 1,904 screens and is soon to enter Saudi Arabia, striking a landmark deal with real estate group Abdulmohsin Al Hokair Holding in February.