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The Light Cinemas

About The Light Cinemas

The Light was founded in 2007 by two highly experienced cinema executives who have been responsible for establishing successful cinema circuits around the globe. It offers a unique independent approach to the traditional commercial multiplex concept, with a sharp focus on customer comfort; excellent customer service; superior quality sound & vision; and real value for money.

In December 2018, The Light featured in The Sunday Times Fast Track Top 100, almost 7 years to the day after they opened their first cinema in New Brighton.

What attracted us to this private equity transaction?

  • Highly experienced and credible management team

  • Market leading concept combining the best of boutique and multiplex sites

  • Secured pipeline of high quality sites

  • Extensive further roll-out opportunities across the UK

The Investment
In January 2015, we announced the completion of a £5.2 million growth capital investment to back established multi-site cinema operator, The Light, alongside £4.5m of bank funding from Santander. Our funding was used to acquire a successful, nine screen multiplex cinema in the centre of Cambridge from Cineworld. It was also used to support the rollout of further sites across the UK, which now includes Bolton, Sheffield, Thetford, Stockport, Walsall, Bradford and Addlestone with further sites scheduled to open over the next few years.

Connection Capital invested a further £1.8m in 2017 to support ongoing roll-out of this £30m revenue business.

Background to the deal

  • The Light had the opportunity to acquire a Cineworld site being disposed due to a Competition and Markets authority enquiry, which required external funding
  • It also was seeking further funding for its own organic roll-out, having established a high quality pipeline of new site opportunities

Keith Pullinger, CEO, The Light Cinemas

About the CEO
Keith describes himself as a cautious entrepreneur! Having worked in the cinema industry for over 20 years holding Board positions at Virgin, UGC and Cineworld, he decided the time was right for a new opportunity, and set up The Light Cinemas as an alternative to the dominance of the major market players.

What advice would you give to a business seeking equity funding?

It comes down to the people and the relationship. There’s a lot at stake so mutual trust between businesses and investors is essential. When times are hard, those relationships matter.

Why did you choose Connection Capital?
I saw an interview in the Sunday Times with Bernard Dale and what he said resonated with me. At the time we didn’t have a well-developed growth plan, but Connection Capital showed an early interest in helping us progress it. When we reached the point of being investment-ready, we did go out to the market, but in the end we felt that Connection Capital was the right fit for us in terms of size and the people. For us the relationship with investors is key.

Investment Highlights
Date of Investment
January 2015
Sector
Leisure
Investment type
Growth
CC Investment
£7.0m
Status
Current

Woolverstone House,
61-62 Berners Street,
London, W1T 3NJ, United Kingdom
020 3696 4010