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Multiplex chain Carnival Group to buy UAE’s Novo Cinemas
Photo Credit: Reuters

Mumbai-based Carnival Group, which operates the multiplex chain Carnival Cinemas, has agreed to buy Dubai-headquartered Novo Cinemas for an undisclosed amount, a company statement said.

The firm will acquire 100% stake in Novo Cinemas from Qatar-based Elan Group, the company said.

The transaction is subject to applicable regulatory and statutory approvals and customary closing conditions.

Ernst & Young was the exclusive financial adviser on the transaction while Eversheds Sutherland LLP and Hadef & Partners acted as the legal advisers.

Novo Cinemas operates over 100 screens across the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and Qatar. It is expected to expand its operations further. Earlier known as Grand Cinemas, Novo Cinemas was set up in 2000 by film distributor Gulf Film LLC which rebranded the entity to the current form in 2014. In 2012, Gulf Film was absorbed by Qatar-based media and entertainment company Elan Group.

Deals in the space

This is not the Carnival Group’s first overseas acquisition. In 2007, it bought two new properties in Singapore—Rex Mackenzie, which has three screens with over 700 seats, and Rex Golden Mile, which has one screen with over 1,000 seats.

In one of the largest deals in the sector at that time, Carnival Cinemas bought Big Cinemas, formerly a part of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group for about Rs 710 crore in December 2014.

In 2010, Big Cinemas had acquired a chain of 188 screens in the US, only to sell it later.

In 2016, Carnival Cinemas went on to buy DT Cinemas, the cinema exhibition business of realtor DLF Ltd, for Rs 500 crore ($78.1 million then).

In 2012, multiplex chain operator PVR Ltd acquired majority stake in rival Cinemax India Ltd for Rs 395 crore.

Last year, PVR said it would buy a minority stake in US-based luxury restaurant and theatre company iPic Gold Class Entertainment LLC to mark its first-ever overseas acquisition.

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