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Pacific Equity Considers Sale of IPO for Hoyts

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s largest private equity firm, Pacific Equity Partners, is considering selling or floating its Hoyts cinema chain, the latest in a string of potential private equity exits, a source familiar with the situation said.Australian press reports have put the value of the cinema chain, the country’s second largest, at up to A$1 billion ($905 million).

Talks with investment banks are at an early stage and no advisers have been appointed yet, the source told Reuters on Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter is confidential.

Pacific Equity Partners did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The source said than an exit could happen in the second half of the year.

With stock markets recovering over the past year, private equity firms are starting to look to exit some of their investments.

Last year saw just three exits by private equity firms in Australia, and industry players expect a pick up in investment and divestment activity this year.

Hoyts manages about 450 screens in 40 cinema complexes in Australia and 9 cinema complexes in New Zealand. It is the largest independent film distributor in the two countries, according to Pacific Equity Partners’ web site.

It also operates Val Morgan, the dominant provider of cinema advertising in Australia and New Zealand. (Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; editing by Balazs Koranyi)