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Cablevision sells off theatre chain

Tue, 04/30/2013 - 1:55pm
Brian Santo

Cablevision continued divesting non-core businesses with the sale of the vast majority of its Clearview Cinema chain of movie theatres to Bow Tie Cinemas.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Cablevision has been gradually spinning off or selling outright many of the assets that had once made it a very highly diversified media company. Cablevision sold its Voom satellite operation to Echostar in 2005; spun off Madison Square Garden in 2010; spun off Rainbow Media (now AMC Networks) in 2011; and this year sold the former Bresnan Communications, purchased in 2010, to Charter Communications.

The Clearview theater chain, like other theatres, requires upgrades to digital projection, along with some 3D installations. Bow Tie will take on the upgrades.

Cablevision will retain ownership of the Ziegfeld in New York City, one of the last of the great old movie palaces, though it will contract with Bow Tie to manage the theatre.

Bow Tie will acquire 41 Clearview Cinemas movie theaters, including Chelsea Cinemas, which will become its Manhattan flagship. Bow Tie will continue to operate Chelsea Cinemas as a venue for events such as the Tribeca Film Festival.

“This is a transformational acquisition for Bow Tie Cinemas and an exciting new chapter in our company’s rich history,” said Ben Moss, CEO of Bow Tie Cinemas.  “Going to the movies is a tradition deeply rooted in the local community.  Bow Tie makes long-term commitments in the communities where we own theaters by building local partnerships, employing local people and engaging with our patrons.  Our mission is to return style and elegance to the movie-going experience™, and we look forward to applying the same approach at our newly acquired locations.”

Founded by B.S. Moss over 100 years ago, Bow Tie Cinemas is a four generation, family-owned business and claims to be the oldest cinema company in the United States.  The company currently owns and operates 22 movie theaters with 177 screens in Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Virginia, including two locations scheduled to open this summer in downtown Saratoga Springs and Wilton, New York. 

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