Monday 27 January 2020

Warring cinema clans reach a truce

Tom Lyons

Warring cinema families the Wards and Andersons have reached a peace agreement on one of their key assets.

The Anderson family has agreed to sell all of its shares in Galway Multiplex Ltd, which owns the Galway and Oranmore Omniplex cinemas, to the Wards.

Both Paul Anderson and Mark Anderson have resigned their seats on the board of the Galway cinema group after the sale to their relatives.

The Ward family is expected to rebrand them as UCI cinemas.

The deal valued the company behind the two cinemas at €15.5m.

The Galway cinemas are now owned outright by the Ward family, including company co-founder Leo Ward, his son Paul Ward, and his daughters Jean Kennedy and Carol O'Riordan.

Both the Ward and Anderson families remain locked in dispute, however, over the Dublin Cinema Group, which runs the iconic Savoy and Screen cinemas in Dublin.

Lawyers for Paul Anderson, whose family owns half of the Ward Anderson Group, asked for mediation last week to resolve this dispute with the Wards. The row has been described in court as "extraordinarily bitter". Bill Shipsey, the noted senior counsel and commercial lawyer, has been suggested by the Andersons as a potential mediator.

The Ward Anderson Group was established in 1948 by Kevin Anderson and Leo Ward. The second generation of the two families began to fall out in 1997 over a cinema in Dun Laoghaire, south Co Dublin.

Relations soured further in 2003 when the Wards moved out of the head office of the group on Upper Abbey Street in Dublin to set up a new office in Dun Laoghaire.

The two families later started to develop new cinemas separately as they became increasingly estranged in business terms.

Sunday Independent

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