Watchdog acts over cinema deal

CineworldCineworld is facing the sale of cinemas in three areas after being told its takeover of the Picturehouse chain could lead to higher prices for film fans.

Highlighting its concern about the impact on consumers in Aberdeen, Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge, the Competition Commission said it may order the group to sell cinemas to a rival business in these areas.
Cineworld operates 79 cinemas in mainly out-of-town locations, while Picturehouse's 21 outlets tend to be smaller locations in town and city centres.

Cineworld, which acquired the art house chain for £47 million in December, said it was disappointed with the Commission's provisional findings and added that it would continue to lobby the watchdog ahead of its final report in October.

Chief executive Stephen Wiener said Cineworld and Picturehouse were "two fundamentally different businesses" that could operate in the same area.

He added that the company was committed to continuing its expansion and investment in the two chains.

Commission deputy chairman Alasdair Smith said that the two chains faced little competition in the three areas where they are in close proximity.

He added: " We found that when setting the price of tickets, exhibitors take account of the prices of competing cinemas operating in their local area.

"We will now look at ways we can restore competition and protect customers' interests."

The top 10 Fortune 500 companies
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Watchdog acts over cinema deal

Wal-Mart Stores, or Walmart, is a retailer that runs chains of discount department and warehouse stores around the world. Founded by Sam Walton in 1962, it is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas and has around 8,500 stores in 15 countries, under 55 different names.

Exxon Mobil Corporation, or ExxonMobil, is an oil and gas corporation formed on November 30, 1999 by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, it has 37 oil refineries in 21 countries.

Chevron Corporation is an energy company headquartered in San Ramon, California. It is active in more than 180 countries and is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and generation.

Phillips 66 is a holding company - created when ConocoPhillips spun off its downstream assets - that only began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on May 1, 2012. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, the company has approximately 14,000 employees worldwide.

Berkshire Hathaway, controlled by legendary investor Warren Buffet, is a multinational holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. The company wholly owns GEICO, Dairy Queen, Fruit of the Loom and Helzberg Diamonds, as well as half of Heinz and significant minority holdings in American Express and The Coca-Cola Company.

At number 6 on the list, it's highest ever position, is iPhone and iPad manufacturer Apple. And Fortune managing editor Leigh Gallagher told CBS News that the computer giant could be even higher up the list if companies were ranked differently. Apple breaks into the top 10 for the first time this year," Gallagher said. "But if you were to rank the Fortune 500 by profits not revenues, it would be number two behind Exxon."

General Motors Company, or GM, is a multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. It employs more than 200,000 people and manufactures the Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and Vauxhall brands, among others.

General Electric Company, or GE, operates in four segments: Energy, Technology Infrastructure, Capital Finance and Consumer & Industrial. Its foundation dates back to 1889, when Drexel, Morgan & Co. helped Thomas Edison to merge his many electricity-related companies to form Edison General Electric Company.

Valero Energy Corporation is the world's largest independent petroleum refiner and marketer. It has 16 refineries and 10 ethanol plants stretching from the US West and Gulf coasts to Canada, United Kingdom and the Caribbean.

Ford Motor Company (also known as Ford) is headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Founded by Henry Ford in 1903, it is still controlled by the Ford family, which now has a minority stake.

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