On March 2, 2020, after an in-depth investigation, the FCO approved cinema operator Vue Nederland B.V. (“Vue Group”)’s acquisition of its competitor Edge Investments B.V., 2015 First Holding GmbH, and Greater Union International GmbH. [1] The approval is subject to the divestment of cinemas in six regions. The Vue Group operates 31 cinemas in Germany, 30 under the brand “CinemaxX”. The targets operate 53 cinemas in Germany, 51 under the brand “Cinestar”.

The merger would create a leading cinema operator in Germany. The FCO found that in most of the relevant markets, strong rival cinemas would continue to constrain the merged entity post- transaction, except for six regions.[2] To remedy the FCO’s concerns, the parties committed to divest a cinema in each of these regions. The FCO ruled out competition concerns in the procurement market. The FCO held that film distributors are still more concentrated than the cinema operators, despite the merger creating the leading cinema operator in the market for the demand for films in Germany.

[1]      Case B6-80/18. See FCO decision of February 28, 2020, only available in German here; FCO Press Release, March 2, 2020, available in English here.

[2]      Augsburg, Bremen, Bielefeld/Gütersloh, Magdeburg, Mülheim, and Wuppertal/Remscheid.