The future of The Swan Centre’s flagship multi screen cinema looks certain today with the announcement that the Vue cinema chain has been sold to private equity firm Doughty Hanson for £450 million.
Vue made a gross profit of £60 million last year against a debt pile of £335 million. The deal will see senior management share a £70 million payout with £25 million going to founder Tim Richards.
Despite the debt drag, the chain has seen some solid trading due to the current 3D movie craze with the Eastleigh cinema reporting good attendances.
With the sale of home 3D TV sets taking off the chain are looking to diversify by holding select one off screenings of niche interest films and by screening live broadcasts of shows and concerts.
Recently there was a live broadcast of Les Miserables and there are also plans to show a live Bon Jovi concert.
The chain is expecting to use the cash injection to sanp up multiplex rivals Odeon and Cineworld -there are currently both Cineworld and Odeon multiplexes in Southampton.
Tim Richards claims there are £15 million worth of synergies that can be made through consolidation.