Terra Firma revisits plans to sell UK cinema operator Odeon & UCI

UK private equity group Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd plans to shed cinemas operator Odeon & UCI group this year after it put sale talks on ice two years ago in favour of a refinancing, the Financial Times reported, quoting a person in the know.

According to the insider, the offload of Odeon would follow that of utility Phoenix Natural Gas Ltd and renewable energy producer Infinis as the private investor’s founder Guy Hands aims to return cash to supporters.

Terra Firma hopes to bag at least GBP1.2bn (USD1.9bn/EUR1.5bn) from a disposal of the cinema chain, according to the report.

A move to put Odeon up for sale is seen to garner the attention of prior suitors including private equity firm Doughty Hanson’s Vue Entertainment Ltd cinema chain as well as buyout company BC Partners, the Financial Times said, citing people familiar with the matter.

An adviser has not been picked yet and procedures on an offload might not start this year, one person told the paper. However, investors could use recently released financial information and a sale could start earlier, according to another person in the know, quoted by FT.