Thursday 20 September 2007

Pyramid Saimira Theatre offloading 15%.....

Private equity majors Carlyle Group and Citigroup Venture Capital International (CVCI) are in the race to acquire a 15 per cent equity stake in Pyramid Saimira Theatre, a Chennai-based theatre chain company.

Pyramid Saimira Theatre is offloading a 15 per cent stake to the private equity investors at around Rs 420 to Rs 445 a share, which is nearly 31.6 per cent premium to the current market price of Rs 338.

Sources said two more investors were also in talks with the company for the stake.

In addition to the 15 per cent stake in the listed entity, the group was also likely to sell around 15-20 per cent stake in its unlisted production company, Pyramid Saimira Production, they said.

"Since the production company is not listed, the deal will be based on the company's enterprise valuation," said a source. This company is valued at Rs 1,300 crore.

P S Saminathan, managing director, PSTL, declined to comment on the development. In India, Pyramid Saimira owns over 371 screens across south India. The company is in an expansion mode and plans to roll out over 2,000 screens by 2010.

Meanwhile, Pyramid Saimira Theatre has won the bid for Hoyts Cinemas, promoted by the Kerry Packer group. The bid was won for A$450 million.

The media company had passed the initial technical bid round and had entered the financial bid round. The sources said the deal was likely to be signed in the coming week.

Hoyts, an Australian chain of cinema multiplexes which operates in Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay, is jointly owned by Western Australian Newspapers Holdings (WAN) and Publishing and Broadcasting (PBL). Over the years, it has sold most of its theatres in the US to the Regal Entertainment group.

Early in May, PBL announced plans to separate its media and gaming businesses and monetise its ownership in Hoyta.

PSTL already has presence in Malaysia through its joint venture company Pyramid Saimira Theatre Chain Malaysia.

Through the joint venture, it operates around 50 screens in Malaysia