Nu Metro changes hands in R75m deal


NuMetro Cinemas, the second largest cinema operator in Southern Africa has been sold by Times Media Group (TMG) to Subcocept (Pty) Ltd, a purpose-built company funded by private equity company, One Fifty Capital. One Fifty Capital will take ownership of the cinema group as well as its associated cinema advertising business, Popcorn Cinema Advertising Sales.

“As part of TMG, Nu Metro was a non-core asset,” says Julian Kannigan, Commercial Director at One Fifty Capital. “We're taking a fresh approach by making this an ‘owner-managed’ business that is working hand in hand with Nu Metro's existing young and innovative management team.” "This dynamic attitude is something that underpins the ethos of the cinema brand," says Nu Metro General Manager, Luke Roberts. “Nu Metro Cinemas is a progressive cinema business with a true focus on delivering a premium entertainment experience.

Our commitment to the constant evolution of the cinema is demonstrated by the recent countrywide upgrade of all 149 screens to a 100% digital platform. Through this upgrade, cinema-goers can now enjoy a world-class audiovisual experience.

"In addition to these upgrades, Nu Metro has also introduced its luxury VIP cinema offering, 'Scene'," continues Roberts. “This concept has worked incredibly well overseas and is the first of its kind in South Africa. Scene cinemas have been completely refurbished with luxurious, fully reclining leather seats, offering plenty of space while the extremely intimate and exclusive nature of the experience gives cinema-goers the comfort of being at home.”

Each Scene cinema boasts an exclusive lounge and bar where one can relax and enjoy beverages ranging from sodas, liquor and fresh fruit juices
to teas and coffees. In addition, freshly prepared light meals including sandwiches, burgers, platters, desserts and popcorn can be ordered as you enter
the lounge and will be served before the movie begins.

“Scene has proved extremely popular at Durban’s Pavilion and Cape Town’s V&A malls and One Fifty Capital will continue to roll out this luxury cinema concept at selected sites around the country, beginning with Hyde Park Corner in Johannesburg,” says Kannigan. “We will also be further rolling out the new IMAX 3D experience at Menlyn Park, Pretoria and Canal Walk, Cape Town.”

A further innovation One Fifty Capital will be deploying is the Nu Metro App for iPhone, iPad and Android. Customers will be able to preview movies, check show times, book tickets and even have their tickets electronically delivered, eliminating the hassle of queues at the cinema, all from their mobile devices
and tablets

“The use of social media has created a loyal culture of South African Nu Metro fans. Our app will please avid social media users by giving the option to share experiences on facebook and twitter as well as update friends as to when and where they'll be attending a movie,” says Kannigan. “All of these innovations and improvements are part of our turn-around strategy to make Nu Metro more profitable by elevating the cinema-goer’s experience in the South African market.”
The first step of the Nu Metro acquisition is moving the Head Office into the trendy, upcoming city neighbourhood of Braamfontein, Johannesburg. The new modern facility will boast state of the art equipment, a trendy lunchtime cafe and is in walking distance of the Joburg Theatre.

Nu Metro is the second largest cinema operator in Southern Africa and operates 17 cinema complexes with 149 screens across South Africa.

Source:  onefiftycapital - 6th January 2014.