Estonian Multiplexes Cancel Merger Plans


    TALLINN: Estonia’s two largest multiplex operators, Forum Cinemas and Solaris kino, have withdrawn their bid to merge.

    The two companies had applied for permission from the Estonian Competition Authority, but backed out during the holiday season, citing official opposition to the merger.

    Forum Cinemas operates three multi-hall cinemas in the three largest towns in Estonia, while Solariskino runs the second-largest multiplex in Tallinn. Together, the pair dominate Estonia’s 11.4 m EUR box office (2012). The bid for a merger was withdrawn by the companies five days prior to the decision deadline of the Competition Authority. Märt Otsa, Director of the Authority, commented that the merger would have been refused on the grounds that it would create a virtual monopoly in cinema exhibition in the capital city and surrounding area.

    Kristjan Kongo, head of Forum Cinemas in the Baltics said the company will look for alternative ways to expand their operations, confirming that this is the official strategy of the company at present.

    Estonia registered 2.5 million admissions in 2012, or 1.96 per capita. There were three multiplex cinemas in 2012.

    Sources: ETV, Postimees