Bow Tie Sews Up Clearview Deal

About two months after signing a deal to sell its Optimum West properties to Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems said it has reached a definitive agreement to slice off its Clearview Cinemas movie theater chain in a deal with Bow Tie Cinemas.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Family-owned Bow Tie has agreed to purchase about 41 Clearview theaters, including Chelsea Cinemas, which will become its Manhattan flagship. Combined with the 22 theaters and 177 screens in Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Virginia Bow Tie will become the eighth largest theater circuit in the United States with 388 screens in 63 locations in seven states. The company will have the largest number of theater locations in the New York metropolitan area upon closing the acquisition. 

The Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City will not be acquired by Bow Tie but the company will manage the Theatre on Cablevision’s behalf.

This is the second asset sale Cablevision has made in about two months. On Feb. 7, it agreed to sell its Optimum West systems (formerly Bresnan Communications) to Charter Communications for about $1.6 billion. 

Cablevision bought Clearview in 1998. The company originally tried to sell the theater chain in 2003 along with its The Wiz electronics stores, but pulled back after it could not reach a deal to its liking. The theaters were put back on the block about a year ago.

“This is a transformational acquisition for Bow Tie Cinemas and an exciting new chapter in our company’s rich history,” said Bow Tie CEO Ben Moss in a statement.  “Going to the movies is a tradition deeply rooted in the local community.  Bow Tie makes long-term commitments in the communities where we own theaters by building local partnerships, employing local people and engaging with our patrons.  Our mission is to return style and elegance to the movie-going experience™, and we look forward to applying the same approach at our newly acquired locations.”

Following the close of the transaction, Bow Tie intends to make a substantial investment in the newly acquired Clearview theaters, including Chelsea Cinemas, to fund key upgrades that are designed to enhance the movie-going experience for customers, including: digital projection and 3D installations, concession stand upgrades, decorative improvements, and point of sale technology that will allow Bow Tie to enhance its customer loyalty programs.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the coming months.

Williams Mullen acted as legal advisor to Bow Tie Cinemas and Anchin, Block & Anchin acted as financial advisor.

Citi acted as financial advisor to Cablevision and Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP acted as legal advisor.