A consortium of Russian private equity investors has committed to supporting a $100m investment programme for cinema chain Karo Film after picking up a controlling stake in the company.
Baring Vostok Private Equity, UFG Private Equity and the Russian Direct Investment Fund have installed Moscow-based media entrepreneur Paul Heth as CEO of the Russian business.
Karo co-founders Leonid Ogorodnikov and Oleg Andreev will both retain significant stakes in the company, with the former continuing to serve as chairman.
Ogorodnikov said, “I was extremely impressed with the calibre of the investment group assembled by Mr. Heth, all of whom are focused on long term value creation.
“We are very proud that since our founding in 1997 we have grown Karo Film into a major player in the Russian cinema sector.
“Russia is now one of the world’s most important and fastest growing movie and digital entertainment markets.
“With this announcement we are positioned to take Karo to the next level.”
Russia is one of the world’s ten largest theatrical exhibition markets with box office takings in 2012 expected to exceed $1.3bn.
The news comes two months after Baring Vostok raised $1.5bn for its fifth fund, a move which cemented the firm’s position as Russia’s largest private equity player.
Baring Vostok, which famously made about 600 times its money through early backing of Russian search engine Yandex, began pre-marketing the fund and its co-investment vehicle about two years ago and formally began fundraising during the third quarter of 2011.
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