Vue Cinemas

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Vue Entertainment
Private
Founded 2003
Founder Timothy Richards
(chief executive officer)
Alan McNair
(chief financial officer)
Headquarters London, UK
Owner OMERS
Alberta Investment Management Corporation
Website www.myvue.com

Vue Entertainment (stylised as vue), formerly SBC International Cinemas, is a cinema company operating in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. The company was formed in May 2003 by the acquisition of Warner Village Cinemas by SBC and the subsequent rebranding of the business as Vue. As of 2013 the company has 80 cinemas in the UK, making it the third largest cinema chain in the country, with 755 screens.[1] The company's flagship site is Vue West End, the former Warner Village cinema in Leicester Square.

The company expanded through a number of acquisitions, including the Ster Century chain, Apollo cinemas and Multikino. In June 2006, Vue's executive team completed a management buy-out with the backing of Bank of Scotland Corporate,[2] taking a 51% stake in the business and buying the four remaining Warner Village sites it had been operating under contract from Village Roadshow. The company was bought by the private equity firm Doughty Hanson & Co in 2010.[3]

In 2013, Doughty Hanson & Co announced the sale of the company to the Canadian firms OMERS and Alberta Investment Management Corporation for £935 million.[4]

History[edit]

Vue at Cardigan Fields in Leeds

The company was formed in 2003 when SBC bought Warner Village Cinemas from Warner Bros. for £250 million. At the time, SBC owned four cinemas, and Warner Village Cinemas owned 36.[5]

In April 2005 the chain acquired the Ster Century chain from Aurora Entertainment; this included the highest grossing cinema in the UK or Ireland at Liffey Valley Shopping Centre in Dublin, Ireland.[6]

On 20 June 2006, Vue's executive team completed a management buy-out of the company with the backing of Bank of Scotland Corporate; the management team retaining a 51% stake.[7] Also, as part of the buy-out, Vue took full ownership of the four Village sites it had been operating under contract from Village Roadshow. The private equity firm Doughty Hanson & Co acquired Vue in 2010.[8]

Vue bought the company Apollo in 2012, retaining 14 new sites across the UK, making it the third largest cinema company in the UK behind Odeon and Cineworld.[9]

In May 2013, Vue Entertainment acquired Multikino, the Polish cinema operator owning 30 cinemas with almost 250 screens in Poland and Baltic countries.[10]

In June 2013, Doughty Hanson & Co announced it had sold Vue to the Canadian pension fund OMERS and Alberta Investment Management Corporation for £935 million.[11]

Facilities[edit]

Vue at The Oracle in Reading

Vue's multiplexes vary in size from 4 to 30 screens and as a result the staffing of each site is slightly different. Each cinema is run by the management team. This team will consist of one general manager (GM) assisted by between 2 and 5 other members of the management team, depending on the size and complexity of the site. The general manager has general control of the running of the cinema at site level, while assisted by the other members of the management team. Team Leaders act as duty managers and are responsible for the operational running of a cinema on a shift basis. Customer Assistants serve guests throughout the cinema and report to the management team.

In addition to this, all cinemas have a dedicated projection team, responsible for the running of the "box" and the maintenance of the projection and sound equipment. The projection department is structured much like the rest of the cinema. The Technical Manager has overall responsibility, supported by a Senior Projectionist. They are accompanied by a team of 2 to 4 full or part-time projection staff, some of which can also share duties with the standard operation of the cinema. However, all Vue sites are now fully digital, and therefore ran by the management team, or Technical Manager.

Vue in Swansea

Vue completed the rollout of the Vista Entertainment Solutions integrated Point of Sale software to every site in 2006.[12] Prior to this the majority of Vue cinemas ran the WaBITS ticketing system, developed in-house in London by Warner Bros. International Cinemas. This was an internal system used in all former Warner Village cinemas until 2007, when the division responsible for development was closed owing to the sale of the remaining joint venture cinema chains. WaBTIS continues to be used in Japan by Warner Mycal Cinemas who now own the rights to the system.

The new system enables customers to buy tickets at any retail point in the cinema, as well as online through the company website. Vue were the first major cinema operator in the UK to implement this "single point of sale" concept. Some cinemas (including those in Aberdeen, Accrington, Birkenhead, Blackburn, Camberley, Cardiff, Carmarthen, Carlisle, Cwmbran, Eastleigh, Hull Princes Quay, Lancaster, The Leeds Light, Hartlepool, Merthyr Tydfil, Harrow, Northampton and Swansea) have no dedicated box office, meaning that all transactions are carried out at retail stands.

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