Sale of Hoyts Now A Two-Horse Race

By Patrick von Sychowski | September 20, 2007 9:12 pm PDT

The latest from Publishing & Broadcasting’s imminent sale of Australian cinema chain Hoyts is that the field of candidates is now down to two suitors. Sydney buyout firm Private Equity Partners is down to the wire against India’s Pyramid Saimira Theatre, as the offer prise has gone up to a reported $450 million. The Indians seem the most keen on the deal, according to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Pyramid, which is based in Chennai, is India’s largest digital cinema chain with more than 126 theatres, which it wants to increase to 1000 cinemas across the country over the next two or three years. It raised $US90 million ($104 million) in July by selling convertible bonds in order to expand internationally.

Managing director PS Saminathan was in the US yesterday and could not be reached for comment on a report in Mumbai’s Business Standard that said he expected to win the bidding contest for $450 million. He said in an interview two weeks ago that buying Hoyts “will add a huge amount of value to the group because we are already present in India, in Malaysia and in Singapore.”

West Australian Newspapers, which bought half of the stake in Hoyts from PBL in 2004 looks set to follow PBL’s lead and sell out when the sale goes through rather than to try to match the bid price. Bidders have to place their final offers ‘today'(it’s Friday in Australia already) and the sale is expected to go through in November.

Patrick von Sychowski
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