PEP said to be planning float of Hoyts cinemas

The private equity owner of the Hoyts cinema chain, one of the smaller exhibitors in New Zealand, is said to be planning a share float later in the year.Pacific Equity Partners has also been reported to be considering a public share sale of its book retailing interests, Red Group Retail, which owns the Whitcoulls and Borders stores in New Zealand.Australian news reports say PEP has invited several investments banks, including UBS, Macquarie and Goldman Sachs JBWere, to provide an initial market valuation of the business.

The private equity owner of the Hoyts cinema chain, one of the smaller exhibitors in New Zealand, is said to be planning a share float later in the year.

Pacific Equity Partners has also been reported to be considering a public share sale of its book retailing interests, Red Group Retail, which owns the Whitcoulls and Borders stores in New Zealand.

Australian news reports say PEP has invited several investments banks, including UBS, Macquarie and Goldman Sachs JBWere, to provide an initial market valuation of the business.

Market observers say the business could be sold before the end of the year, although recently appointed executive chairman David Kirk, the former Fairfax chief executive, has said no formal decision had been made to proceed with a sale.

Accounts filed on both sides of the Tasman say Hoyts generated $A299 million in revenue for the 12 months to June 30 in Australia and $NZ41 million from its New Zealand operations.

Stronger box office takings since then from a run of popular films, including the blockbuster Avatar, have made the industry more attractive to investors, though it faces large capital needs as it converts to digital and 3D technology.

Hoyts has seven locations in New Zealand, including one of the newest at Auckland’s Sylvia Park. The others are in Christchurch, Dunedin and North Shore.

The industry's largest deal saw Sky City Entertainment recently sell its much larger cinema business to another Australian based chain, Amalgamated Holdings, which owns Greater Union.

The only other operators of size in this country are US-based Reading, which has a large complex in Wellington, and Barry Everard‘s Berkeley Cinemas group in Auckland.