Investment company UP Invest, controlled by Estonian businessman Margus Linnamäe, will be acquiring the Forum Cinemas movie businesses in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The move expands on the group's holdings in Estonia alone, and is partly in response to decimated audience numbers during and after the coronavirus pandemic, the group says.
Board member and executive manager of UP Invest Sven Nuutmann said that while UP Invest is well established through Apollo Group movie theaters in Estonia, acquiring Forum Cinemas will help reinforce its position in Lithuania.
"The spread of COVID-19 means times are difficult for the movie theater industry all over the world, with consolidation a necessity. That said, Forum Cinemas is a very well-managed company throughout the Baltic countries and we are very happy wit the transaction," Nuutmann said.
He added that the aim is to take the best technological solutions and service standards of both Apollo and Forum cinemas to all movie theaters.
Both sides hope to conclude the transaction by the end of this year, or the beginning of 2021 at the latest. The deal will enter into force after it is approved by the competition watchdogs in all three Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Forum Cinemas OÜ is the Baltic region's largest movie theater operator, operating the Coca-Cola Plaza in Tallinn, Ekraan in Tartu and Centrum in Viljandi. Forum Cinemas has a single cinema in Latvia, and five in Lithuania.
Forum Cinemas OÜ is a subsidiary of Finnish film distributor and cinema chain Finnkino Group, which is in turn owned by the Odeon Group - since March 2017 part of U.S. movie theater chain AMC
UP Invest concentrates on health care, real estate, retail goods and services investments and cleantech venture capital investments, and is owned by Linnamäe and Ivar Vendelin's holding company, MM Grupp.
Linnamäe's other business interests include private media company Postimees Grupp, which publishes the daily of the same name, and its regional variants, as well as radio stations and the Kanal 2 TV channel.
Editor: Roberta Vaino, Andrew Whyte