Southern Theatres announced that it has acquired Movie Tavern, a cinema eatery chain with 16 locations and 130 screens across 7 states. The combined company is now among the 10 largest exhibitors in the United States, and has 36 locations and 433 screens across 13 states. Terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.

“This acquisition will be a fantastic catalyst for growth for our company, and we look forward to working with John Hersker and the entire Movie Tavern team to deliver on this strategy,” says George Solomon, CEO of Southern Theatres, which is a portfolio company of Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS), a leading private equity investment firm focused on the information, education, media, communications and business services industries. “Movie Tavern has an outstanding team both within their home office and throughout their circuit, and they will be integral to this expansion plan.”

"All of us at Movie Tavern are passionate about giving our guests an outstanding entertainment and dining experience," says John Hersker, president and CEO of Movie Tavern, who will continue to manage the business, which has a presence in key markets such as Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. "We are honored to be part of the Southern Theatres/VSS family, and look forward to working with George Solomon, Trent Hickman, and their teams to grow the Movie Tavern concept and extend our reach into new markets.”

The acquisition of Movie Tavern is the company’s third add-on acquisition since Southern Theatres received an investment from VSS. “Southern Theatres and Movie Tavern are great examples of our strategy of pursuing accelerated growth through both internal expansion and add-on acquisitions. We see the potential to significantly expand Movie Tavern’s footprint over the next few years and are pleased to complete this acquisition in support of such an accomplished management team,” says Trent Hickman, a managing director of VSS. “Movie Tavern has developed a terrific brand and expansion strategy. We are very happy to have completed the transaction and look forward to partnering with them to build on their outstanding results to date,” says Jeffrey Stevenson, managing partner of VSS.

In accordance with Southern Theatres’ existing long-term cinema advertising agreement, the 16 acquired theatres will become part of the National CineMedia cinema advertising network in mid-2014.


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