YORK'S much-loved City Screen cinema, and the Cineworld multiplex at Monks Cross, could well be attractive to buyers should their debt-ridden parent company be broken up, The Press has been told.

The York cinemas' parent company Cineworld - which has 128 cinemas in the UK under the Cineworld and Picturehouse brands and more than 751 worldwide - filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US last September.

This bought time for the firm - which has nearly $6bn of secured debt on its balance sheet - to seek potential bidders to buy the whole chain, investment expert Joshua Raymond, director of online investment platform XTB.com, told The Press.

But Cineworld has so far been unable to find a single buyer. The final bid deadline is set for April 10.

Last month, the world’s second-largest cinema chain said it had been approached by 'a number' of potential suitors, but none of them had been willing to pay in cash to buy the whole business.

Mr Raymond told The Press that in the circumstances, the most likely scenario was that a successful bidder would break up the chain, keeping some cinemas and selling off others to help ease its debt burden and keep the cinemas trading.

Should no buyer be found by the deadline, meanwhile, it is likely that Cineworld's creditors would be given control of the group. They would then also most likely 'proceed to sell off the chain in parts', Mr Raymond said.

Were the Cineworld chain to be broken up, however, that might not necessarily be bad news for York's City Screen and Cineworld, Mr Raymond said.

"Given the fact that a purchase of the whole group appears unlikely ...suitors are now looking to pick apart the group and take its most strategic assets," he said.

"The question centres ... on what parts of the group are most attractive.

"The recent revival of cinema thanks to blockbusters such as Avatar 2 is likely to keep interest high for those cinema locations which offer strong footfall and strategic value. That could mean the two locations in York remain of value for potential suitors."

There has been speculation in recent weeks that London-based Vue International might be interested in buying at least part of the Cineworld chain, Mr Raymond said.

Earlier this week, Reuters and Sky News both reported that Picturehouse founder Lyn Goleby had held talks with Vue. The speculation was that, if Vue were to buy Cineworld, Goleby may want to buy back the Picturehouse chain (which includes City Screen) which was sold to Cineworld in 2012.

"We have seen reports emerge of discussions between Vue and Picturehouse founder Lyn Goleby," Mr Raymond confirmed.

The Press approached both Cineworld and its subsidiary Picturehouse for comment, but at time of writing neither had responded.