By Sam Dallas

Australasia’s Pacific Equity Partners has landed a deal to expand Hoyts after buying Australian Multiplex Cinemas.

Hoyts, which private equity firm PEP acquired in late 2007, announced today it had entered into an agreement to acquire the AMC to “establish a presence” in far north NSW and Queensland.

As a result, Hoyts will now be in all mainland states in Australia.

Hoyts currently operates a total of 50 multiplexes and 406 screens Down Under and in New Zealand and this will now increase to 55 multiplexes and 450 screens.

AMC owns five multiplexes, which include three in Queensland, one at Tweed Heads and one in Melbourne.

“We’ve had a relationship with AMC for some years and have seen the commitment to first-class quality entertainment that they have offered their customers,” Hoyts CEO Delfin Fernandez said in a statement.

“We are thrilled to build a truly national footprint of Hoyts cinemas by integrating these great assets into our network.

“We are particularly excited to continue the full digitisation of the AMC circuit in the first half of 2011, bringing Queenslanders greater opportunities to enjoy cutting-edge 3D technology and experience new content such as live sporting and music events.

“Hoyts is in an ideal position to invest in digital technology and to continue the evolution of cinema for the benefit of AMC's customers.”

A price was not disclosed.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of next month.

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