AMC could be­come largest movie chain

China Daily (Canada) - - NEWS CAPSULE - By AI HEPING in New York ai­hep­ing@chi­nadai­

Chi­nese-owned AMC En­ter­tain­men­tHold­ings on Tues­day won ap­proval from share­hold­ers of Carmike Cin­e­mas, the fourth-largest US movie chain, for a $1.2 bil­lion buy­out that will make AMC the world’s largest movie ex­hibitor.

Ge­or­gia-based Carmike said 72 per­cent of the com­pany’s shares was voted in fa­vor of merg­ing its 2,954 screens largely in ru­ral or sub­ur­ban ar­eas, with AMC, which is in ur­ban mar­kets.

Buy­ing Carmike will make AMC the na­tion’s largest movie chain with 8,218 screens, more than Regal En­ter­tain­ment Group’s 7,310 screens. Cine­mark, the third-largest, has 4,542 screens. AMC bought the smaller Starplex Cin­e­mas’ 346 screens last year.

US Jus­tice Depart­ment ap­proval is needed for the merger, andLea­wood, Kansas­based AMC has said it could come as early as next month. AMC chief Adam Aron has said AMC ex­pects to di­vest “a lim­ited num­ber of the­aters” to sat­isfy of­fi­cials and has al­ready be­gun look­ing for buy­ers. He said AMC will spend “lit­er­ally hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars” up­grad­ing Carmike the­aters, with some keep­ing the Carmike name and oth­ers tak­ing on AMC’s.

AMC is a sub­sidiary of the Chi­nese real es­tate and en­ter­tain­ment con­glom­er­ate Dalian Wanda Group, which ac­quired it for $2.6 bil­lion in 2012. Wanda op­er­ates China’s largest the­ater chain, and is owned by Wang Jian­lin, China’s rich­est man.

Dalian Wanda bought Dark Knight pro­ducer Leg­endary En­ter­tain­ment for $3.5 bil­lion this year and re­cently paid $1 bil­lion for Dick Clark Pro­duc­tions, pro­ducer of live events, such as the Golden Globe Awards, the Amer­i­can Mu­sic Awards andABCTV’s peren­nial Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve spe­cial.

AMC’s orig­i­nal $1.1 bil­lion bid for Carmike was an­nounced in March, but large in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors with stakes in Carmike ob­jected and buy­out.

Carmike share­hold­ers are to re­ceive a com­bi­na­tion of cash and shares of AMC En­ter­tain­ment Hold­ings Inc equal to $33.06 for each share of the the­ater chain that they own.

“We are pleased with the out­come of to­day’s vote,” David Pass­man, Carmike pres­i­dent and CEO, said in a state­ment after the share­holder vote at a meet­ing in At­lanta. pushed for a big­ger

The com­bi­na­tion of AMC with Carmike, along with AMC’s planned $650 mil­lion pur­chase of Odeon & UCI Cin­e­mas Group, Europe’s largest, would give AMC 900 the­ater lo­ca­tions, mak­ing it the world’s largest.

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