Odeon & UCI


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Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group (Odeon & UCI) is a leading pan-European cinema operator with market-leading positions in the UK, Ireland, Spain and Italy and a strong presence in Germany, Portugal and Austria.


Investment strategy 

Asset-Backed: Odeon & UCI owned a number of its prime cinema sites in the UK plus some locations in Europe.

Requiring Fundamental Change: Terra Firma acquired Odeon and UCI as two separate businesses in late 2004 and merged them to create a leading European cinema operator. Odeon had historically suffered from a lack of clear strategic direction. UCI, meanwhile, was considered non-core by its previous owners and had gone through a period of under-investment. The merger of the two groups offered the chance to unlock value through integration savings and to take advantage of opportunities for further consolidation within the European cinema industry.


Creating value 

  1. Transforming strategy

    • The two separate businesses were merged following competition clearance in the UK, generating significant synergies and other cost improvements and creating a platform to accelerate consolidation within the broader European cinema market.
    • The strategy for the combined business has been to focus on its differentiated strategy of delivering superior operating performance through four focus areas: commercial excellence to drive revenue; transforming operations to improve the customer experience; applying industry best practice to maximise retail sales; and creating a high performance culture with the most motivated and guest-centric employees in the industry.
  2. Strengthening management

    • Until UK competition clearance was received, the two businesses were run by interim CEOs seconded from Terra Firma. Thereafter, new senior management, including the CEO and CFO, were brought in to manage the combined business, oversee implementation of the new strategy and introduce clear operational and investment discipline. In 2014, a new senior management team was put in place to lead the business through its next phase of transformation.
  3. Developing through capital expenditure

    • Significant investment has been made to enhance the customer experience at Odeon & UCI, which includes opening new sites and installing premium seating across all territories. The food and beverage range has been broadened, with a focus on more healthy options.
    • A major milestone was the conversion of all screens to digital projection technology which was completed in 2012. Digital screens improve the customer experience, reduce distributor costs and boost advertising revenue. They also enable the projection of 3D films.
    • The business has invested in expanding and enhancing its portfolio with the addition of 40 new site openings across Europe.
  4. Building through mergers and acquisitions

    • Odeon & UCI has taken advantage of its leading position within the European cinema market through acquisitions in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany, the UK and Ireland. In total, over 100 sites and 1,000 screens have been added to the group’s portfolio through new site openings and acquisitions, making Odeon & UCI Europe’s largest cinema operator, with 2,236 screens at 242 sites across seven territories.
  5. Lowering the cost of capital to create extra upside

    • In 2007, after two years of improved performance, the business was restructured by separating the UK properties from the operational business of screening films. This restructuring enabled Terra Firma to return funds to its investors. In 2011, the company refinanced its debt by issuing bonds enabling it to lower its cost of capital, finance a number of acquisitions and further its growth plans. 

Status of Investment: The Odeon & UCI investment has been fully realised. In December 2016, ODEON & UCI was sold to AMC Theatres.

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