72m deal to bring back ABC cinemas

The ABC cinema brand is to be brought back to the UK high street by former managing director of MGM cinemas Barry Jenkins, who will announce the purchase of 90 MGM sites from the Virgin Group next week.

Jenkins has put together a consortium to buy the sites for an estimated 72m with backing from venture capital company CINven.

Jenkins plans to rebrand the MGM cinemas under the ABC name, which has been absent from the UK for ten years.

He acquired the rights to the ABC name when he was managing director of MGM in the Eighties.

It is understood that Jenkins will seek to add mid-sized multiplex sites to the ABC chain, using MGM’s 1,200-seat Southampton site as the model.

Virgin bought the 119-strong MGM Cinemas operation for 195m in July 1995, with plans to sell off 30 of the chain’s high street sites. The sell-off figure mushroomed to 90 after Virgin decided to keep only the 18 multiplex and central London sites.

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