Carlton makes pounds 58m move into cinema advertising

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Carlton Communications, Michael Green's media company, is paying pounds 58.5m for Cinema Media, the largest seller of cinema advertising space in the UK, confirming its strategy of investing in what Mr Green calls "screen- based entertainment".

The acquisition, which gives Carlton contracts with leading UK cinema exhibitors, including Virgin, ABC, National Amusements, Rank and UCI, will be paid for in cash.

Cinema Media, bought from Rank by its managers in 1992, will be rebranded as a Carlton company.

It had pre-tax profits last year of pounds 7m, on sales of pounds 34.6m, but Carlton said yesterday current trading was "significantly ahead" of last year.

The company controls more than 80 per cent of the UK market for in-cinema advertising, and 100 per cent of Ireland's market. It also supplies advertising for home videos, a growing market. Carlton, through its Technicolor division, is a leading maker of pre-recorded video cassettes and the big film processor. It is also the franchise holder for London ITV in the week and for Central.

Following a brief hand-over period, Cinema Media's chief executive, Keith Shepherd, and its finance director, Chris Hicks, are to leave the company. Mr Shepherd will be replaced by Adam Poulter, now marketing director of TDI, the transport advertising company.

The division will be folded into Carlton UK sales, which handles airtime for Central Television, Carlton and several cable television channels, including Carlton-Select.