Cablevision Agrees to Sell Clearview Theaters to Bow Tie Chain

Cablevision Systems Corp., the New York-area cable operator, agreed to sell most of the Clearview theater chain to closely held Bow Tie Cinemas, making Bow Tie the largest exhibitor in the metropolitan New York area.

Bow Tie, owner of 22 U.S. theaters with 177 screens, will more than double in size become the eighth-largest chain to 388 screens, the companies said yesterday in a statement. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Bow Tie will make “substantial” investments in the Clearview sites, including digital projectors and 3-D gear, so the cinemas can show Hollywood’s biggest releases, according to the statement. Studios are phasing out film prints in favor of satellite-distributed digital copies to save on shipping costs.

Cablevision, based in Bethpage, New York, said in May it was considering its options for Clearview. Bow Tie is based in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and is still run by the family that founded the company more than 100 years ago, according to the statement.

The agreement calls for Bow Tie to manage the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York, although Cablevision will retain ownership, the companies said. The company plans to make New York’s Chelsea Cinemas its Manhattan flagship.

Cablevision rose 1.3 percent to $14.99 yesterday in New York. The shares are little changed this year. The company plans to let the leases expire on the remaining five locations, according to Kelly McAndrew, a spokeswoman.

Williams Mullen acted as legal adviser to Bow Tie Cinemas and Anchin, Block & Anchin acted as financial adviser. Citigroup Inc. acted as financial adviser to Cablevision and Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP provided legal counsel.

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