Vue Entertainment, the cinema chain, is reportedly on the brink of being sold to private equity firm Doughty Hanson for around £450m. Although a finalised deal has yet to be signed off by both parties, it is understood that Doughty Hanson is now the only bidder left in the race, after Vue’s management team stopped their discussions with rival private equity firm BC Partners and Canadian pension fund OMERS. Vue is majority owned by its management, led by chief executive Tim Richards, while minority stakes are held by both private equity firm Coller Capital and hedge fund Och-Ziff. The sale is set to net Richards, who founded Vue 12 years ago, a windfall of almost £25m. Doughty Hanson has proposed that Vue’s management reinvest half of the profits from the sale back into the business and that they stay on afterwards in order to lead an aggressive expansion of the business in coming years. The chain is expected to table a transformational acquisition proposition in the not-too-distant future, with speculation over a takeover centring on its listed rival Cineworld and on Odeon and UCI, owned by Terra Firma boss Guy Hands. Sources close to the talks said that the top members of the two teams remained locked behind closed doors yesterday, attempting to thrash out the final nuances of the deal. A final announcement is anticipated by the end of the week at the very latest, barring any last-minute hurdles. Vue operates 68 cinemas across the country, including Europe’s largest purpose-built all-digital cinema at the Westfield shopping centre in West London, which has 14 screens. The Times, p60