The trio behind Mediawan, the French company which recently acquired a majority stake in Brad Pitt’s Plan B, have made an offer to buy CGR Cinema, France’s second biggest multiplex chain, Variety has confirmed.
The bid has been made by Pierre-Antoine Capton and French telecom tycoon Xavier Niel, the co-founders of Mediawan. Capton and Niel are being backed by a consortium which includes Matthieu Pigasse, a big-time financier who is the third co-founder of Mediawan, among others. The offer values CGR Cinemas below €500 million ($300 million), according to a source closed to discussions.
The British fund Aermont Capital has also made an offer, according to the French news site “L’informé.”
CGR Cinemas comprises 74 multiplexes and represented an estimated 12% market share of theatrical admissions in 2022, according to the CNC.
CGR Cinemas’s owners, Luc Raymond and Charles Raymond, put the exhibition chain on the market in 2021. Along with the exhibition part of the business, the Raymond family are also selling their stake in the distribution company Apollo Films, as well as its proprietary Immersive Cinema Experience (ICE), a popular premium format used in France and in the Middle East, among other territories.
The Raymond family are currently exploring both offers and are expected to make a decision in approximatively two weeks, according to an industry source.
Although the exhibition business was hit hard by the pandemic, France still boasts Europe’s healthiest theatrical market in terms of admissions, and remains the continent’s biggest nation of moviegoers. The country saw admissions drop by 30% in 2022 but tickets sales have been going up during the first quarter of 2023, driven by anticipated U.S. releases and big-budget French movies, notably “Astérix et Obélix: The Middle Kingdom” and “Alibi.com 2.”
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