Norwood, MA - Shari Redstone, President of National Amusements Inc., and co-founder of Rising Star Media, announced that she has joined with Charles Ryan of UFG Private Equity of Russia to purchase Rising Star from NAI.
Redstone will be chairman of the new entity and Rising Star co-founder Paul Heth is joining as CEO. Rising Star Media plans to aggressively expand its theater chain in Russia under the well-established brand Kinostar.
Redstone and Heth founded Rising Star Media in 2002 with National Amusements. The venture quickly became a significant player in the Russian theatre scene. Today the company owns and operates the top five grossing theatres in Russia.
"After many successful years working with Paul and our team in Russia, I am delighted that Charlie shares our vision for the company's future," said Redstone, who is also the Vice-Chairman of the Boards of Viacom and CBS. "With his support, the company is well-positioned to grow the business and expand our dominant position in the Russian theater industry."
Added Heth, "This is great news for our US studio and Russian film partners, which retain their top customer, and for Rising Star. I'm grateful to have been invited to continue with the new company, and look forward not only to the next chapter in my long-standing business relationship with Shari, but also to the chance to work with Charlie, an old friend for whom I have the highest respect."
"I am very pleased that UFG Private Equity and I are able to play a role in Rising Star's continued success," said Ryan. "Our analysis of the market here in Moscow is that it is poised for additional theatre expansion and with Rising Star we plan to make a significant investment in the marketplace."
Rising Star owns and operates state of the art, destination-type multiplex venues in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Two of the locations, one in each city, have state-of-the-art IMAX digital projection systems. In addition, every Rising Star multiplex is outfitted with RealD 3D which, along with numerous other technological innovations, has cemented Rising Star as the high tech leader in the Russian exhibition business.
National Amusements sold the Rising Star group as part of a previously announced plan to divest some its theaters in the United States and abroad.