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Bridgepoint takes control of Scandinavia’s largest cinema chain


- Nordic Cinema Group’s SF Bio, SF Kino, Finnkino and Forum Cinemas have changed owners, and will “expand our footprint further”, according to CEO Jan Bernhardsson

Bridgepoint takes control of Scandinavia’s largest cinema chain
Jan Bernhardsson, CEO of Nordic Cinema Group

Nordic Cinema Group – Scandinavia’s largest theatre circuit, comprising Sweden’s SF Bio, Norway’s SF Kino, Finland’s Finnkino and Forum Cinemas in the Baltics – changed owners on 28 April when European private-equity group Bridgepoint bought a majority stake in the company previously held by Sweden’s Ratos conglomerate and Bonnier Holding.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

In a transaction totalling €501.67 million (SEK 4.7 billion) – according to Bridgepoint – the company has taken control of the cinema chain, with its 66 theatres, 444 screens and a 44% share of total Nordic box-office revenues. Bonnier will reinvest part of its proceeds to take a reduced stake alongside management, while Ratos will divest its entire ownership. 

“We are glad that Bridgepoint sees great potential in the group and our strategy. Our focus in the coming years will be to continue to develop the cinema experience, bringing the different parts of our group together and expanding our footprint further,” said CEO Jan Bernhardsson, from the Nordic Cinema Group’s Stockholm headquarters. 

The theatre circuit, which last year had total revenues of €278.6 million (SEK 2.61 billion), was set up by the spring 2013 merger of SF Bio and Finnkino by their then owners, Bonnier and Ratos. Most recently, it announced plans to open Norway’s biggest multiplex in Storo, Oslo, with an IMAX screen the size of a three-storey building, and a nine-screen multiplex in a new shopping centre in eastern Helsinki (see the news).

The Nordic Cinema Group includes:

  • SF Bio, Sweden’s leading cinema chain, with 34 theatres (235 screens) in 21 cities, taking 10.9 million admissions in 2014 (controlling 69% of the market) 
  • SF Kino, Norway’s second-largest circuit, with seven cinemas (42 screens) in seven cities, reaching 0.9 million admissions in 2014 (8% of the market) 
  • Finnkino, Finland’s largest cinema chain, with 14 theatres (96 screens) in ten cities, which recorded 5.1 million admissions in 2014 (70% of the market) 
  • Forum Cinemas, the leading circuit in the Baltics, with ten theatres (70 screens) in ten cities, taking 4.7 million admissions in 2014 (58% of the market).

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