Sun­dance Cine­mas chain is for sale

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - By Richard Ver­rier richard.ver­rier@la­times.com

Robert Red­ford’s Sun­dance Cine­mas is putting it­self up for sale.

Sun­dance Cine­mas said in a state­ment that it has hired the in­vest­ment bank Salem Part­ners to find a buyer for the small L.A.-based theater chain.

The com­pany is among sev­eral en­ti­ties over­seen by Red­ford, in­clud­ing the Sun­dance Chan­nel and the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val in Utah. The cel­e­brated ac­tor, pro­ducer and direc­tor also is part-owner in Sun­dance Cine­mas but is no longer an ex­ec­u­tive of the com­pany.

Ex­ec­u­tives de­clined to spec­ify the rea­sons for the planned sale, but a per­son close to the com­pany said pri­vate eq­uity back­ers were look­ing to cash out their in­vest­ment. Los An­ge­les­based Oak­tree Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment is the pri­mary in­vestor in Sun­dance.

Other larger cir­cuits have been testing the wa­ters at a time when the­aters are grap­pling with long-term de­clines in at­ten­dance.

Carmike Cine­mas, the na­tion’s fourth-largest theater chain, has re­port­edly hired JPMor­gan Chase & Co. to eval­u­ate its op­tions, in­clud­ing a pos­si­ble sale. Re­gal En­ter­tain­ment Group, which op­er­ates the na­tion’s largest theater chain, last year also hired JPMor­gan to con­sider strate­gic op­tions, in­clud­ing a sale. In Jan­uary, how­ever, the chain said it had with­drawn those plans.

The chain was launched in 2005 and op­er­ates five high-end the­aters mainly de­voted to in­de­pen­dent movies, in­clud­ing the 630seat Sun­set Sun­dance Cinema in West Hol­ly­wood, which opened in 2012. The com­pany also has the­aters in Madi­son, Wis., San Fran­cisco, Hous­ton and Seat­tle.

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