Shari Redstone and her partners have sold the Russian theater circuit Rising Star Media to Cinema Park, Russia's largest cinema chain.
Redstone, daughter of media mogul and Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. Chairman Sumner Redstone, announced Monday that she and her partners, Paul Heth and investment banker Charlie Ryan of UFG Private Equity of Russia, sold the 75-screen theater chain last week to Cinema Park. Financial terms were not disclosed. But people close to the deal said the business was sold for $200 million, making it an appealing offer at a time when emerging markets like Russia have grown increasingly profitable to the major Hollywood studios.
Redstone launched Rising Star Media in 2002 in partnership with Boston-area-based theater company National Amusements, of which she is president, and in 2009 acquired 100% ownership of the company with Heth and Ryan.
"I fell in love with the country within hours of my first visit to Moscow,'' Redstone said in a statement. "I was deeply impressed with the energy and vibrancy of the Russian people and their love of entertainment -- particularly with their fascination with movies. I knew immediately that Russia was a place that we needed to be and I am very proud of what we were able to accomplish there in such a short period of time."
Rising Star Media, which operates luxury multiplex venues under the name Kinostar de Lux, has 75 screens between Moscow and St. Petersburg and says it owns the top five grossing cinemas in Russia.
Cinema Park is a dominant player in the Russian exhibition industry. Founded in 2002 by Prof Media, one of Russia's largest media and entertainment holding companies, Cinema Park in 2010 served 12 million patrons and generated revenues of $120 million.
-- Richard Verrier
Photo: Rising Star Chairman Shari Redstone and CEO Paul Heth at the opening of one of their Moscow Kinostar de Lux Cinemas. Credit: Nickolay Chechet / PRNewsFoto / Rising Star Media