Bow Tie vaults to eighth-biggest theater owner with Clearview purchase
At the movies: Ridgefield company to buy 41 theaters from Cablevision
A Ridgefield-based regional movie theater company with a New Canaan location is bursting onto the national scene with the purchase of 41 theaters from Cablevision Systems.
Bow Tie Cinemas is nearly tripling the size of its portfolio, going from 22 theaters with 177 screens in Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Virginia -- including two locations scheduled to open this summer in Saratoga Springs and Wilton, N.Y.-- to 63 sites with an agreement to buy substantially all of the Clearview Cinemas.
Following the acquisition, Bow Tie Cinemas, a privately held company, will become the eighth-largest theater circuit in the United States with 388 screens in 63 locations in seven states. The company will have the largest number of theater locations in the New York metropolitan area upon closing the acquisition.
The deal expands Bow Tie into Manhattan, north and central New Jersey, suburban Philadelphia and Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties in New York state.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, and the deal is expected to close in the coming months.
"This is a transformational acquisition for Bow Tie Cinemas and an exciting new chapter in our company's rich history," Ben Moss, chief executive officer, said in a statement. "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."
The company's mission is to return style and elegance to the movie-going experience, he said.
Bow Tie will acquire 41 of 47 Clearview Cinemas, according to Cablevision spokeswoman Kelly McAndrew.
"Bow Tie is not acquiring the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City; however, it will manage the theater on behalf of Cablevision," she said. "The leases on the other five theaters that are not a part of this transaction are expiring and will not be renewed.
Cablevision, which acquired Clearview in 1998 for a reported $158 million, announced in May 2012 that it was pursuing strategic alternatives for Clearview because it was not a core asset.
Founded by B.S. Moss more than 100 years ago, Bow Tie Cinemas is a four generation, family-owned business and the oldest cinema company in the United States. Bow Tie is led by Charles B. Moss Jr., and Ben Moss, the third and fourth generations of the Moss family, respectively.
Clearview's Chelsea Cinemas will become Bow Tie's Manhattan flagship, and it will continue to be a venue for industry events such as the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York International Latino Film Festival and the Asian American International Film Festival, as well as for community programming and world premiere screenings.
Bow Tie intends to rebrand theaters and make a substantial investment in the newly acquired theaters, including digital projection and 3D installations, concession stand upgrades, decorative improvements and point-of-sale technology to enhance its customer loyalty programs.
"At select locations, we will also introduce our signature programs, such as Movies and Mamosas and Cine Classics on Saturday and Sunday mornings, Insomnia Theater for Friday and Saturday late-night showings and Senior Wednesdays -- this is $5 movies with free coffee for seniors," said Bow Tie spokeswoman Gemma Hart.
Bow Tie will more than double its number of employees to about 1,600 from about 600.
"We do not anticipate any layoffs," she said. "At Bow Tie we are a family business, and we have a long-term horizon."
As with any acquisition, integrating the facilities and staff is a crucial process, said Roger Aguinaldo, chief executive officer and publisher of Mergers & Acquisitions Advisor.
"They (Bow Tie) will evaluate all management and get them to excel," he said. "Integrating is always a challenge. You need experts to go in and decide what is going to be done. There must be a deadline for the integration."
Because potential customers can see a movie on myriad electronic devices, as well as at home on their television, Bow Tie must continue to make attending a theater a pleasurable experience, Aguinaldo said.
"More people than ever are going to movie theaters. People like going to the movies," he said. "It's like going to a baseball game."