UK private equity firm Terra Firma has hired Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan to explore a potential sale for cinema chain Odeon for as much as £1bn.
According to the Financial Times, acquirers could include Chinese property investor Dalian Wanda. The firm could also consider a listing or refinancing if a trade sale cannot be found.
Terra Firma bought Odeon in 2004 for €650m and merged the company with UCI, which it bought for €350m the same year, to create the UK’s largest cinema operator.
The firm previously sought an exit for the cinema chain in 2011, and rejected an offer from fellow private equity investor BC Partners that same year.
Odeon and UCI has 2,179 screens in 236 locations in in the UK and Ireland, Italy and Spain, with operations also in Portugal, Germany and Austria.
The sales will help return cash to Terra Firma’s investors as it looks to raise a new fund, the firm’s first since losing control of its stake in music publishing giant EMI to Citigroup in 2011. The firm is also currently seeking exits for gas distributor Phoenix Natural Gas and property group Deutsche Annington.
In its recent annual review, Hands said the “constant intervention” of politicians since the 2008 credit crunch has made it much harder to know where to invest.
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