With an eye towards transforming the cinema media business beyond advertising to include adjacent experiential, gaming and commerce business lines, Screenvision Media—a national leader in cinema media and advertising—has been acquired by Abry Partners. The Boston-based media-focused private equity firm will take a controlling stake in the company.
The company’s existing owners, Shamrock Capital and AMC Entertainment, will maintain minority stakes as part of the agreement. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but sources with knowledge of the deal put the sale price at $380 million. Screenvision Media’s revenue hit $220 million for the 2017 calendar year. Shamrock Capital bought the company for just over $100 million in 2010.
Bucking the trend of traditional advertising-based media platforms, cinema advertising continues to be a growing premium video offering with consistent audience delivery. Screenvision Media has helped grow that market, demonstrating 30 percent revenue growth and tripling profitability over the past three years. The Screenvision Media cinema advertising network is comprised of over 15,000 screens in more than 2,300 theatre locations across all 50 states and 94 percent of DMAs nationwide.
Screenvision Media CEO John Partilla will remain with the company, along with his management team. “Cinema advertising is uniquely positioned to benefit from eroding audiences on alternative media platforms,” Partilla said. “We’re at an inflection point in the current media landscape, and the cinema advertising platform couldn’t be more well-positioned for sustained future growth.”
Partilla said the acquisition by Abry will open opportunities, via fresh capital investment and partnerships, to expand Screenvision’s traditional advertising-based revenue model. The model would include more audience-based initiatives ranging from better monetization of the theater lobby space and in-theater commerce opportunities to gaming, events, alternative cinema and ticketing options.
“We might have viewed our business a bit too narrowly,” said Partilla. “We now have the opportunity to look at our business more broadly.”
Screenvision Media has already launched Cintel, its connected cinema solutions and advanced targeting platform that enables advertisers to activate before, during and after the movies while targeting audiences beyond basic ratings and demographics. The company also recently announced a slate of innovations and strategic alliances around virtual and augmented reality in an effort to provide brands with news engagement platforms.
Partilla added that with Abry, Screenvision will have options to grow organically as well as inorganically, with mergers and acquisitions possible in the future.
“We look forward to partnering alongside and investing with their first-rate management team to help further unlock future growth for the company, as well as their leading network of exhibitors,” said John Hunt, managing partner of Abry.
Abry’s holdings are focused on media, communications and information services. Founded in 1989, the firm has completed over $77 billion of transactions, including leveraged buyouts, growth financings and recapitalizations. Currently, Abry manages over $5 billion of capital in its active funds.
“John Partilla and the driven Screenvision Media management team have done a stellar job transforming the company and setting an industry-leading example for the cinema media and advertising sector,” said Steve Royer, partner at Shamrock Capital, in announcing the deal. “We are proud to support them and their initiatives and look forward to continuing our partnership with them during the next chapter of its growth.”
“Screenvision Media has been an excellent partner of ours, delivering extraordinary media solutions on-screen and in the lobbies,” added AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron. “We are thrilled that Abry has recognized the strength in the Screenvision Media platform and for the investment that they will be providing to continue the already-robust solution provided to ourselves and Screenvision Media’s other 170 exhibitor partners.”
The transaction is expected to be finalized this summer.