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Japan's first multiplex chain acquired by Lawson HMV Entertainment

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NEW DELHI: United Entertainment Holdings, the parent company of cinema chain United Cinemas, has been acquired by Lawson HMV Entertainment (LHE), from the Advantage Partners investment fund.

In a deal said to be worth approximately US $100 million, Lawson HMV will acquire 100 per cent of the cinema chain's shares. The deal is expected to be completed on 26 August.

Originally the Japan branch of UCI Cinemas, a partnership between Paramount and Universal, United Cinemas International was a pioneer of the multiplex concept when it opened its first cinema in Shiga Prefecture. In 2005, United acquired the four cinemas of Japan's AMC Theatres and it merged with the Cineplex cinema chain last November.

United is currently the third-largest cinema chain in Japan, operating 331 screens in 36 cinemas.

A subsidiary of global convenience store franchise firm Lawson, Lawson HMV Entertainment operates Japan's HMV stores, a record label and a popular ticketing service for concerts, films and other live events.

In a statement released by LHE, the company says that the deal will enable it to strengthen its role as a content holder. United Cinemas will stock LHE and Lawson products, and members of Lawson's Ponta loyalty programme will receive special privileges at the cinema chain, thereby increasing cinema attendance. 

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