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PICTUREHOUSE Cinemas, the parent company of York's City Screen cinema, has been acquired by Cineworld Plc for £47.3 million.

The company said the investment gives Picturehouse Cinemas "exciting opportunities to grow and develop", but said it would be business as usual.

Dave Taylor, marketing manager of York City Screen said the acquisition wasn't going to affect customers at York City Screen, but would secure the future of investment plans they already had for the premises.

He said they already planned to upgrade seating, improve the bar and refurbish the foyer area within the next year.

"We were intending to do that anyway but this will make those investments easier," he said.

Lyn Goleby, founder and managing director of Picturehouse, said: “The Picturehouse cinemas, and all that we stand for, will remain as before and will operate as a standalone division of Cineworld.

"Everyone recognises that the success of this change depends on the unique nature of the Picturehouse Cinemas being protected; the programming policy will not change, the membership schemes will remain in place and the independent identity of the cinemas will be protected.

"The existing management teams are all staying in their current roles and will continue to ensure that ‘business as usual’ is maintained."

She said Cineworld valued Picturehouse's independent identity and the way its cinemas are operated, and there are no plans to change this.

But the investment means the business can open more Picturehouse cinemas, more quickly than before. It is already looking at ten new locations, it said.

Picturehouse will continue to set its own pricing policy, and remain independent from Cineworld’s pricing policy and programming.

The business added that it did not anticipate any job losses as a result of the acquisition.

Stephen Wiener, chief executive of Cineworld, said: "This acquisition gives us an opportunity to accelerate our growth by reaching new audiences in a high value and growing part of the market.

"We recognise that Picturehouse is valued by its customers and we look forward to supporting the business through the next phase of its development.”