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Sumner Redstone's National Amusements closes deal to sell 29 theaters to Rave Cinemas

A transaction for the remaining six theaters -- which includes the Bridge Cinema de Lux multiplex in Los Angeles -- is expected to be finalized in the next couple of weeks.

December 22, 2009|By Claudia Eller
  • A deal for the remaining six theaters being sold by National Amusements, including the Bridge Cinema de Lux multiplex near Los Angeles International Airport, is expected to be finalized in the next couple of weeks.
A deal for the remaining six theaters being sold by National Amusements,… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

Sumner Redstone's family-owned movie theater circuit, National Amusements Inc., has closed a deal to unload 29 of the 35 non-core cinema assets it is selling to Texas-based Rave Cinemas. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

A transaction for the remaining six -- which includes the Bridge Cinema de Lux multiplex in Los Angeles -- is expected to be finalized in the next couple of weeks.

Redstone will use the proceeds of the sale to help pay off National Amusements' outstanding debt. In October, the media mogul announced that he was selling nearly $1 billion in stock in the two companies he controls, Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., to retire part of the $1.46 billion that National Amusements owes its lenders.

In a statement Monday, Norwood, Mass.-based National Amusements, run by Redstone's daughter, Shari Redstone, said, "With the sale of these non-core theater assets, [the company] is progressing as planned with its previously announced actions to extinguish its existing debt."

Based in Dallas, privately held Rave also announced Monday that it was acquiring an additional four theaters from private-equity firm Boston Ventures Management, one of the founding partners in the decade-old Rave that operates screens in 10 states.

After completion of the National Amusements and Boston Ventures acquisitions, Rave will own or manage 65 theaters, or about 1,000 screens in 20 states, making it the No. 5 circuit in the U.S. Rave's newly acquired theaters are located in Pittsburgh; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Toledo and Dayton, Ohio; and Davenport, Iowa.

The National Amusements and Boston Ventures deals are being financed by an investment consortium led by TowerBrook Capital Partners and co-investors Lambert Media Group and Charles B. Moss Jr.

Moss, who has worked in the real estate and movie industries, will serve as chairman of Rave Cinemas, a newly formed holding company for Rave Motion Pictures. Lambert Media's founding partner, Michael Lambert, will be vice chairman.

Rave Chief Executive Thomas Stephenson Jr. will continue to oversee the day-to-day business and operations of the expanded theater circuit. Stephenson will also manage Boston Ventures' 21 remaining theaters.

claudia.eller@latimes.com

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