On 25 March 2016, the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) approved the acquisition by the Kinepolis Group of two of the four Utopolis multiplex cinemas (in Turnhout and Lommel). However, the BCA accepted structural and behavioural commitments introduced/suggested by Kinepolis following the additional investigation.
Pursuant to the BCA decision, the multiplex cinemas of Mechelen and Aarschot must be transferred to a buyer capable of operating them as a viable and active competitor. Furthermore, with regard to the behavioural commitments contained in the BCA decision covering a period of three years, Kinepolis must ensure the multiplex activity of Turnhout and Lommel, maintain the existing cooperation agreements regarding the vouchers and monitor the degree of satisfaction of visitors in terms of price/quality ratio.
Whereas the acquisition of nine Utopolis multiplexes abroad had been achieved in November 2015 (in Luxembourg, the Netherlands and France), the purchase of the Utopolis cinemas in Belgium by the Kinepolis Group still had to be approved by the BCA. This has now been done. Since its establishment in 1997, specific restrictions were imposed on Kinepolis regarding its future development in the Belgian market. Those restrictions are still in effect today.