Multiplex chain operator Inox Leisure Ltd acquired 100% of the equity share capital of New Delhi-based Satyam Cineplexes Ltd from its existing shareholders for Rs.182 crore, Inox said in a filing to the BSE (pdf). Post this acquisition Inox’s screen count in the country has increased to 358, in 91 multiplexes across 50 cities, the statement added. In terms of multiplexes, Inox is second to PVR Cinemas, which has 444 screens in 101 multiplexes across 43 cities in India. More importantly, the Satyam Cineplexes acquisition gives Inox an entry into Delhi (and neighbouring Gurgaon, Greater Noida and Faridabad), which is dominated by PVR.

Inox

Satyam’s three marquee properties in Delhi are in Nehru Place, Janak Place, and Patel Nagar. They also have multiplexes in Indore, Jodhpur, Aurangabad, Rohtak and Mysore, with a total of 38 screens.

Inox Leisure CEO Alok Tandon told Business Standard that they will be adding a further 156 screens over the next two years. This will take their total screen count to 514. Apparently this year Inox will open new screens in Jamnagar, Kurnool, Faridabad and Jaipur. Post the acquisition Inox Leisures share price increased by 7.5% in intraday trading, as reported by MoneyControl.com.

Inox’s earlier acquisitions

This will be Inox’s third acquisition in 7 years. Inox acquired Fame Cinemas in 2010 after a lengthy takeover battle with Reliance MediaWorks’ Big Cinemas. In February 2010 Inox had acquired 43.28% in Shringar Cinemas Ltd, which operates Fame Cinemas, for Rs.66.48 crore. Reliance MediaWork’s Big Cinemas was also interested in acquiring Fame Cinemas.

This led to a protracted battle that Inox eventually won. Inox Leisure and Fame India boards finally approved the merger in June 2012, as indicated by this Business Standard report. Post this Inox had for a brief while become India’s largest multiplex chain with 257 screens. Last year Fame Cinemas was rebranded to Inox screens. In 2007 Inox had acquired Calcutta Cine Pvt. Ltd operated 89 Cinemas.

PVR not one to be left behind

In November 2009 PVR had announced that it would acquire DLF’s DT cinemas in a cash-cum-equity swap for Rs.60 crore. The acquisition was delayed for over two months, and eventually in February 2010 PVR called it off.

In August 2012 PVR received investment to the tune of Rs.108 crore from private equity firm L Capital Asia. A few months later in November 2012, PVR acquired 69.3% stake in competing multiplex chain Cinemax for Rs.394 crore. L Capital had invested Rs.82.3 crore in this deal. Follwing this PVR became the largest multiplex chain in India with 351 screens.

Other significant acquisitions

Kochi-based Carnival Films bought the multiplex business of Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) for Rs.100 crore, as reported by Livemint. The report adds that Carnival Films has plans to acquire over 3000 screens over the next three years. Carnival Films currently operates 75 screens, and is apparently already in talks with separate multiplex operators in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to buy a further 175 screens.