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Gloucestershire Business News

Cineworld plots sale of UK cinema operations

One of Britain's biggest cinema chains is in secret talks about a sale as part of a strategic review that could lead to a wholesale restructuring of its business.

According to Sky News, Cineworld, whose parent company went through a series of insolvency processes last year, is working with advisers on a potential disposal of its UK operations.

Cineworld, which trades from more than 100 sites in Britain - including Cheltenham and Gloucester - and employs thousands of people, has begun contacting prospective bidders in recent days.

AlixPartners, the restructuring adviser which handled the administration of Cineworld's London-listed holding company last year, has been drafted in to work on the process.

City sources said that the sale process was expected to run for several weeks, Sky News said.

They added, however, that the cinema giant was also expected to explore the option of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) - a further restructuring process which could put an unspecified number of its UK cinemas at risk of closure.

Cineworld grew under the leadership of the Greidinger family into a global giant of the industry, acquiring chains including Regal in the US in 2018 and the British company of the same name four years earlier.

Its multibillion-dollar debt mountain led it into crisis, though, and forced the company into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2022.

It delisted from the London Stock Exchange last August, having seen its share price collapse amid fears for its survival.

Under the deal which secured its survival, several billions of dollars of debt were exchanged for shares, with a significant sum of new money injected into the company by a group of hedge funds and other investors.

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