New York/London, October 13, 2004: The Blackstone Group today announced the acquisition of Cine-UK Ltd from a consortium led by JP Morgan Partners, RIT Capital Partners plc and Botts & Company by Blackstone Capital Partners IV, an affiliate of the Blackstone Group, and Cine-UK management. Lehman Brothers was M&A adviser and provided debt financing to Blackstone in support of the acquisition.
Cine-UK is the fifth largest operator of cinemas in the UK, trading under the “Cineworld” brand name. Cine-UK was founded in 1995 and opened its first multiplex cinema in Stevenage in July 1996. Since that time the company has opened more multiplex cinemas than any other exhibitor in the UK. Today the company operates 384 screens from 34 multiplex cinemas throughout the United Kingdom and employs more than 2,000 people.
Lawrence H. Guffey, a Senior Managing Director of the Blackstone Group comments:
“We are excited about backing a strong management team, led by Steve Wiener, who have built one of the most modern portfolios of cinemas in the country over the last eight years. We believe that the industry fundamentals are solid, with continued growth in admissions fuelled by increasingly strong content from the studios.”
Steve Wiener, Chief Executive of Cine-UK comments:
“Over the last eight years, with the support of our previous shareholders we evolved from an idea into one of the leading cinema operators in the country. We are now moving into a new phase of our development and are very excited about our growth prospects with Blackstone behind us.”
About The Blackstone Group
The Blackstone Group, a private investment and advisory firm with offices in New York, London, Atlanta, Boston and Hamburg, was founded in 1985. The firm has raised a total of approximately $32 billion for alternative asset investing since its formation. Over $14 billion of that has been for private equity investing, including Blackstone Capital Partners IV, the largest institutional private equity fund ever raised at $6.45 billion. In addition to Private Equity Investing, The Blackstone Group’s core businesses are Private Real Estate Investing, Corporate Debt Investing, Marketable Alternative Asset Management, Corporate Advisory, and Restructuring and Reorganization Advisory. www.blackstone.com