Cinema firm Cineworld takes over Picturehouse

Romsey Advertiser: Ocean Village cinema operator buys owner of Harbour Lights in £47m deal Ocean Village cinema operator buys owner of Harbour Lights in £47m deal

The owners of Southampton's Ocean Village cinema has bought a rival firm that operates the city’s Harbour Lights picturehouse next door in a multi-million deal.

Art-house cinema chain Picturehouse was snapped up for £47.3 million today by Cineworld, which operates the Ocean Village complex in the city.

Cineworld's acquisition of Picturehouse will add 21 cinemas and 60 screens to the 80-strong group, the Harbour Lights cinema and the Phoenix in Oxford - the chain's founding cinema, bought in 1989.

Lyn Goleby, co-founder and managing director of Picturehouse, is set to pick up a hefty sum from the deal, as she was one of the company's major shareholders.

The Arts Alliance and investment firm Albion Venture Capital also held significant stakes in Picturehouse.

Cineworld said the deal will allow it to tap into ''new audiences in a high value and growing part of the market''.

It will also buy Picturehouse's theatrical distribution arm, Picturehouse Entertainment, which has a number of releases under its belt since launching in December 2010.

Picturehouse, which has 750 staff, will continue to be run as a separate business within Cineworld and its existing management team will remain in place, according to Cineworld.

The art-house chain was founded to challenge the multiplex cinema model and show the independent, art-house and foreign language films that often do not make it on to the big screen.

Ms Goleby said it would stay true to its roots after the takeover: ''We are known for our high quality city centre cinemas and our distinctive, wide-ranging programming.

''The unique character of Picturehouse cinemas will remain and our team will continue to bring the widest range of film to customers.''

Picturehouse opens its 21st cinema today, The Duke's at Komedia in Brighton, and hopes the Cineworld acquisition will allow it to launch another 10 sites that are in the pipeline.

Ms Goleby and co-founder Tony Jones started the group when it bought the Phoenix in Oxford and has since expanded through acquiring and building cinemas, particularly in London and university cities such as Cambridge, Edinburgh, Brighton and York.

Mr Jones, who held a minority stake in the group, is now retiring, but will remain involved with the Cambridge Film Festival, which is screened at the Arts Picturehouse in Cambridge.

Cineworld is launching a cash-call to investors to raise around £16 million to help fund the Picturehouse takeover and said Ms Goleby will put £1 million into the share placing.

Comments (9)

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11:14am Thu 6 Dec 12

St Retford says...

O I really hope they don't completely balls it up. The Harbour Lights is one of the very best things about Southampton.
O I really hope they don't completely balls it up. The Harbour Lights is one of the very best things about Southampton. St Retford

12:17pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Ford Prefect says...

St Retford. I agree. I simply won't go near the other two cinemas in the city. They seem to be places to go and eat junk while chatting to your mates rather than places to watch the film.
St Retford. I agree. I simply won't go near the other two cinemas in the city. They seem to be places to go and eat junk while chatting to your mates rather than places to watch the film. Ford Prefect

12:24pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Roger Khan says...

Ice Rink. Wheres Denzil??
Ice Rink. Wheres Denzil?? Roger Khan

1:14pm Thu 6 Dec 12

lordswood lady says...

I agree with most of what of the other people are saying. I love the Harbour Lights cinema. However, car parking is impossible ever since the new flats were built opposite - maybe the residents are taking up the spaces? The last three times we have been to the cinema we couldn't park in the car park, and the 2 cinema screens weren't that full. It's wrong that cinema goers should have to pay in the public car park even at night and Sundays. If Harbour Lights don't address this problem they will have difficulty attracting audiences. After all, Odeon Leisure World car park is free, even if they don't show such good films.
I agree with most of what of the other people are saying. I love the Harbour Lights cinema. However, car parking is impossible ever since the new flats were built opposite - maybe the residents are taking up the spaces? The last three times we have been to the cinema we couldn't park in the car park, and the 2 cinema screens weren't that full. It's wrong that cinema goers should have to pay in the public car park even at night and Sundays. If Harbour Lights don't address this problem they will have difficulty attracting audiences. After all, Odeon Leisure World car park is free, even if they don't show such good films. lordswood lady

6:39pm Thu 6 Dec 12

OV Resident says...

I agree with the comments about Harbour Lights. I REALLY do hope that nothing happens to it, that they keep all the cinemas open and stick to running it as a separate business. I am however slightly worried that Harbour Lights' proximity to the Cineworld is going to make them re-evaluate their offering in Southampton.

The Cineworld is a soulless, awful place full of chavs chucking popcorn and talking on their phones whereas the Picturehouse has a much nicer clientele and lovely facilities.

Don't agree with the comments on parking, however. There's a great covered car park just a hop and a skip away and it costs only £1 per hour and is free after 6pm.
I agree with the comments about Harbour Lights. I REALLY do hope that nothing happens to it, that they keep all the cinemas open and stick to running it as a separate business. I am however slightly worried that Harbour Lights' proximity to the Cineworld is going to make them re-evaluate their offering in Southampton. The Cineworld is a soulless, awful place full of chavs chucking popcorn and talking on their phones whereas the Picturehouse has a much nicer clientele and lovely facilities. Don't agree with the comments on parking, however. There's a great covered car park just a hop and a skip away and it costs only £1 per hour and is free after 6pm. OV Resident

7:01pm Thu 6 Dec 12

lordswood lady says...

Thanks for that OV Resident. I didn't know that car park was for public use and will certainly use it in future, always assuming the Harbour Lights does stay open?
Thanks for that OV Resident. I didn't know that car park was for public use and will certainly use it in future, always assuming the Harbour Lights does stay open? lordswood lady

7:03pm Thu 6 Dec 12

gazdance says...

There's loads of parking! I use Cineworld and Harbour Lights and never have a problem, even on busy nights. Try parking in the office car parks opposite the left hand side of Cineworld - always spaces, unless you really can't be bothered to walk the extra 100 metres.

I enjoy Harbour Lights but find the clientele to be rather stuffy and up themselves. It's always a frustrating experience seeing a film there. Likewise, Cineworld is often like hell on earth and most of the staff seem to have special needs but the Unlimited pass is excellent value for money.
There's loads of parking! I use Cineworld and Harbour Lights and never have a problem, even on busy nights. Try parking in the office car parks opposite the left hand side of Cineworld - always spaces, unless you really can't be bothered to walk the extra 100 metres. I enjoy Harbour Lights but find the clientele to be rather stuffy and up themselves. It's always a frustrating experience seeing a film there. Likewise, Cineworld is often like hell on earth and most of the staff seem to have special needs but the Unlimited pass is excellent value for money. gazdance

8:43pm Thu 6 Dec 12

neilchi says...

I often come from Chichester to use Harbour Lights. It's a fantastic cinema and I really enjoy the quality of the films that they show. I understand what people about being stuffy but don't let that put you off enjoying a great night out and supporting the more independent film makers. I hope they don't mess the cinema up and wish the staff well there.
I often come from Chichester to use Harbour Lights. It's a fantastic cinema and I really enjoy the quality of the films that they show. I understand what people about being stuffy but don't let that put you off enjoying a great night out and supporting the more independent film makers. I hope they don't mess the cinema up and wish the staff well there. neilchi

9:32pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Shoong says...

The best thing about the Harbour Lights cinema is the absence of chavs and screaming children, I hope the new owners appreciate this and keep it that way.
The best thing about the Harbour Lights cinema is the absence of chavs and screaming children, I hope the new owners appreciate this and keep it that way. Shoong

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