Competition, Estonia, Markets and Companies, Mergers and take-overs

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 23.10.2021, 20:49

Estonian Competition Authority starts additional proceedings re MM Group, Forum merger

BC, Tallinn, 22.10.2020.Print version
The Estonian Competition Authority on Tuesday decided to launch additional proceeding regarding a concentration in which MM Grupp OU is to acquire the Forum Cinemas movie businesses, writes LETA/BNS.

Investment company UP Invest OU -- now MM Grupp OU -- controlled by Estonian businessman Margus Linnamae announced on Aug. 31 that it will be acquiring the Forum Cinemas movie businesses in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.


The price of the transaction is 65 million euros. The acquisition of Forum Cinemas will help reinforce MM Grupp's position in Lithuania, the company said.


The sides hope to conclude the transaction by the end of this year or the beginning of 2021 at the latest. The transaction will enter into force after it is approved by the competition watchdogs of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.


The concentration notice of former UP Invest and Forum Cinemas OU was submitted to the Competition Authority on Sept. 21. According to the Competition Act, the authority must, within 30 calendar days of the submission of the notice, grant a permission for the concentration or make a decision to initiate additional proceedings.


Within four months of the launch of the additional proceedings, the authority is required to take a decision authorizing or prohibiting the concentration.


As a result of the concentration, there will be a horizontal overlap in the cinema screening market in Tallinn and Tartu, where the parties' combined market share will exceed 15%.


Vertically related to the concentration is the market for cinema film distribution in Estonia, as Estonian Theatrical Distribution OU, part of the MM Group and operating under the brand name "Hea Film", mediates the production of various film producers to Estonian cinemas and its market share exceeds 25%.


Forum Cinemas OU is the Baltic region's largest movie theater operator, operating the Coca-Cola Plaza in Tallinn, Ekraan in Tartu and Centrum in Viljandi. Forum Cinemas has a single theater in Latvia and five in Lithuania.

Forum Cinemas OU is part of Finnish film distributor and cinema chain Finnkino Group that is in turn owned by Odeon Group that belongs to US movie theater chain AMC since March of 2017.

MM Grupp OU concentrates on health care, media, real estate, retail goods and services investments and cleantech venture capital investments. UP Invest announced on Oct. 19 that it will merge with parent company MM Grupp and continue operating under the name of MM Grupp OU.

MM Grupp also owns Postimees Grupp and news agency BNS.

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