Popcorn, hotdogs and 3D glasses needed to watch this screenplay develop

A number of sources including the FT and the Wall Street Journal have today linked private equity firm BC Partners as a possible buyer for the UK-based Odeon cinema chain. 

The Odeon cinema chain is currently owned by Mr Guy Hands’ Terra Firma Capital Partners and, should it be sold on to another financial sponsor, this would be the company’s fourth deal where the buyers have been from within the private equity arena.

Odeon Cinema was first purchased by a private equity company back in 2000, when Rank Group sold it for around $450m to Cinven (Zephyr deal 63714). Cinven exited the company in 2003 to a consortium including Lehman Brothers, The Entertainment Group and Rotch Property and then Terra Firm purchased it approximately 18 months later in August 2004, merging it with the UCI chain it acquired in the same year for just under $500m.

If the press are correct in linking BC Partners with Odeon this wouldn’t be the first time BC Partners had attempted to enter a sector that has gone through a renaissance in the last few years. BC Partners was also linked to the secondary buyout of Vue Entertainment which completed in December 2010. Vue eventually passed into the ownership of Doughty Hanson (Zephyr deal 1601181509) for just under $775m.

Consider the difficult events of late last year when Mr Hands was unsuccessful in his court case against Citigroup regarding his investment in EMI – and more recently in February this year when the ownership of EMI passed into the hands of Citigroup. If press sources are to be believed about the potential $1b+ valuation of the Odeon cinema chain Terra Firma’s exit would hopefully ease that pain.

Filed under: PE