Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS) has acquired Movie Tavern, a Dallas-based cinema eatery chain, for an undisclosed price.
The New York private equity firm facilitated the deal through portfolio company Southern Theatres. Based in New Orleans, Southern Theatres now operates more than 400 screens at 30-plus sites. It trails behind Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC), AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark Theatres (NYSE: CNK), Carmike Cinemas Inc. (Nasdaq: CKEC), Cineplex Entertainment, Rave Motion Pictures and Marcus Theatres, which is owned by The Marcus Corp. (NYSE: MCS).
The deal comes as theater companies struggle to boost ticket sales and admissions amid increasing competition and pressure from on-demand entertainment services available through cable television and the Internet, via Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN). The purchase includes 16 Movie Tavern locations, each with a wine-and-dine setup. Southern Theaters, which previously had just one cinema location that also served meals, now has a greater presence in the dine-in theater sector.
VSS has, over the years, tallied roughly 320 add-on acquisitions to its 74 platform companies. The firm primarily focuses on information, education, media, communications and business services investments.
Proskauer Rose, Lathrop & Gage and Ernst & Young advised Southern Theatres on the deal, while GE Capital, Webster Bank, Capital One and CIT provided the financing.
Movie Tavern tapped investment bank Peter J. Solomon Co. to advise the sale process.