Luxury Bath cinema up for sale after parent group collapses into administration

August 25, 2023

A Bath cinema has been put on the market after the group that owns it went into administration.

The Tivoli in SouthGate, which remains open, is part of the Empire Cinemas chain. The group, formed in 2005 following the mergers of Odeon and UCI, and Cineworld and UGC, operated 12 venues under the Empire brand along with Tivolis in Bath and Cheltenham.

It collapsed into administration last month with the immediate loss of 150 jobs and the closure of six of its outlets.

Now eight of its cinemas are being marketed by property agency CBRE, including Bath’s Tivoli.

The three-screen venue was described as the “new face of concept cinema” when it opened in December 2018.

CBRE said the cinema, along with the Tivoli in Cheltenham, operated successfully as ‘affordable luxury’ venues, with premium offers, enhanced food and drink concessions. including a bar, dining facilities and armchair seating.

The agency said the Bath Tivoli could be sold as a standalone cinema, in combination with others in the group or as a complete package.

Other cinemas being marketed by CBRE include venues in Birmingham, Clydebank, High Wycombe, Ipswich, Sutton and Sutton Coldfield as well as the Cheltenham Tivoli.

They are available on a variety of tenures with freeholds, long leaseholds and occupational leaseholds, which CBRE said “provided buyers a fantastic opportunity to leverage some of the real estate post-acquisition”.

As well as the cinemas, Empire’s fully operational head office in London’s Leicester Square is being offered as part of the sale.

CBRE senior director, operational real estate Toby Hall said: “This is a rare opportunity to acquire profitable, operating cinemas in a market with renowned high barriers to entry.

“The sale can either act as a platform for parties to enter the sector or allow existing operators to complement their current estate by acquiring individual or multiple cinemas.

“We have received significant interest from a wide pool of prospective buyers as they look to capitalise on a recovering industry.”

The cinema industry was devasted by the pandemic and has not yet fully recovered.

Industry figures show attendances last year were still only about three-quarters of 2019 levels, with experts warning it was unlikely to get back to full recovery until 2025.

However, that prediction may no longer be valid following the runaway success of this summer’s Barbie movie and its rivalry with Oppenheimer, which has led to sell-out screenings in many cinemas. Both are being screened at Bath’s Tivoli this weekend.

CBRE says the sale of the cinema and the other Empire venues offers the chance to snap up well-regarded venues in an industry that is tightly restricted by number of outlets and while it is not trading at full capacity.


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