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Aeon buys out Warner Mycal cinemas
By Patrick Frater
Thu, 20 December 2012, 20:50 PM (HKT)
Japanese retailing giant Aeon Group is to buy out Warner Bros Entertainment's 50% stake in the Japanese cinema chain Warner Mycal.
Warner Mycal is one of the largest exhibitors in Japan with 60 theatres and 496 screens, and was established in 1993 as a joint venture between Warner and Aeon, which was then known as Mycal.
According to a stock market filing by Aeon the deal is expected to complete in Feb or March 2013.
By combining the Warner Mycal cinemas with Aeon's wholly owned chain, which totals some 70 complexes and 600 screens, the new group expects to become the largest movie theatre operator in Japan. The current market leader is Toho Cinemas, which previously bought out the Virgin chain in Japan.
Aeon, which operates the MaxValue and TopValue supermarket chain and is in the process of buying Tesco's supermarkets in Japan and Carrefour's stores in Malaysia, did not disclose the value of the Warner Mycal stake purchase. But it said that it would fund the purchase from its own balance sheet.
Warner Bros International Cinemas has over the past two decades been a pioneer of multiplex cinemas around the world, opening more than 170 cinemas and almost 1,600 screens in 11 countries internationally. Including Portugal, Japan, Holland, Italy, China, and Taiwan. Most of these have been sold to local players, with Japan remaining the last disposal.