UGC buys film arm of Virgin


The Irish and UK cinema business of Britain's Virgin Group have been sold to French cinemas and film group, UGC, for £215 million sterling (€331.28 million). A Virgin spokesman said proceeds from the sale would be reinvested to expand Virgin's Megastore business in the United States and Asia and develop the group's e-commerce projects. Virgin operates a nine-screen multiplex in Dublin's Parnell Street and had been looking at other sites for expansion.

UGC - which is backed by French media and environmental services group, Vivendi - will take over the 300 cinemas and change their names within six to eight months, the spokesman said.

It has also agreed to a £17 million contract to sell Virgin Cola products at the UK and Irish cinemas for "several years" and is negotiating selling the beverage at its other cinemas across Europe, he added.

Virgin last week shortlisted six potential buyers for the cinema screens, which it bought from Metro Goldwyn Mayer film studio four years ago.