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Hollywood strikes force Vue cinema chain into fresh debt restructuring | Business News

Vue International, Europe’s largest independent cinema operator, is finalising a fresh debt restructuring after the Hollywood actors’ strike halted the release of a string of blockbuster movies.

Sky News has learnt that UK-based Vue, its shareholders and lenders are in the process of organising the company’s second debt-for-equity swap in 18 months in a bid to put the business on a sustainable long-term footing.

Under the plans, hundreds of millions of pounds of existing debt will be converted to equity, with roughly £50m of new capital being injected into the company.

This weekend, Vue’s founder and chief executive, Tim Richards, told Sky News: “The unforeseen and unprecedented six months of strike action by Hollywood actors and writers in 2023 has had a short and medium-term impact on the industry, pushing back the release of anticipated number of movies and delaying the pipeline of new content.

“We are in discussions with our shareholders and lenders to ensure the business has the right capital structure to thrive and maximise exciting opportunities ahead once the pipeline of new content improves later this year and in 2025.”

Last year’s strikes brought the epicentre of the global film-making industry to a standstill, impacting studios, distributors and cinema operators.

Among the titles whose release was delayed by the crisis was Dune: Part Two, a sequel which had been among the most anticipated movies of 2023.

Vue employs more than 8,000 people and operates more than 225 multiplexes in countries including the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy and Taiwan.

One source said that the latest restructuring underlined its stakeholders’ confidence in the long-term prospects of the business, with hits this year expected to include the third instalment of the Deadpool franchise, Beetlejuice 2 and Gladiator 2.

Led by Mr Richards, Vue completed a previous restructuring almost exactly a year ago, which saw £470m of debt wiped out and the company taken over by…

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This notice was published: 2024-01-13 07:35:00

By Sky News

Sky News is a British 24-hour information television channel, the first in Europe of its kind, launched on February 5, 1989 by the British Sky Broadcasting Company.

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