MGM cinema chain to takeVirgin name

Virgin is to rename all 116 MGM cinemas under the Virgin banner following its acquisition of the cinema chain for 200m.

The company is also considering creating a secondary brand name for smaller venues.Virgin will take over the running of MGM at the end of this month.Virgin spokesman Will Whitehorn says it will create a multi-tiered cinema chain comprising larger multiplexes and smaller specialist venues, such as “art houses” – perhaps developed as joint ventures with local businesses.he says Virgin has no plans to make changes to the existing MGM management, headed by managing director Mike Sommers. “Unlike some of the other bidders – notably Rank – we didn’t have a full management team already in place. The aim is to work with MGM’s existing team,” says Whitehorn.Virgin plans to open ten more multiplexes, with the aim of turning MGM into a state of-the-art chain comprising US-style “entertainment centres” at larger sites – possibly with games areas and themed restaurants.

MGM, formerly owned by French bank Credit Lyonnais, holds 25 per cent of the UK cinema market.Virgin, in partnership with TPG (a US leveraged buyout company), beat a number of other potential buyers, such as Rank Organisation and Carlton Communications, to the business.

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