Another cinema chain sold to Australian firm

Posted Monday 22 Mar 2010

Barrie Everard has sold Auckland-based Berkeley Cinema Group, to Australia's Hoyts Corporation, reported The National Business Review last week. New Zealand's fourth biggest chain, Berkeley have four cinemas with a total of 21 screens, all based in Auckland.  The Berkeley purchase brings Hoyts nationwide cinema circuit up to 11 multiplexes and 70 screens, with the majority located in Auckland, and a national market share of 25 per cent.  Hoyts has 40 multiplexes in Australia, also owns and operates the Val Morgan cinema advertising business as well as a film distribution company, and is owned by Pacific Equity Partners (PEP). However, Hoyts executive chairperson David Kirk told BusinessDay that PEP was considering selling its Australasian cinema business.

Hoyts' major Australian rival Greater Union recently purchased SkyCity Cinemas for $61.1m.  As the editor points out,  the third major cinema chain operating in New Zealand is now Wellington's Reading Cinemas, which is US owned.  Meanwhile, shares in independent art-house theatre Academy Cinemas are up for grabs on Trade Me (see our noticeboard).  This activity comes as the industry gains strength, with 2009 the highest grossing box office year in New Zealand history.