AMC acquires Nordic cinema chain for $929 m

By Amy He in New York | | Updated: 2017-01-24 09:51

The global footprint of AMC Entertainment, the US movie-theater chain owned by Dalian Wanda Group, is getting bigger.

AMC announced on Monday that it will acquire Nordic Cinema Group Holding, further bolstering Wanda's presence into Europe's movie industry.

The $929 million deal will give Wanda ownership of the largest theater exhibitor in northern Europe. Stockholm-based Nordic Cinema Group Holding operates 68 theaters and nearly 50 percent of 50 other associated venues, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The all cash deal needs to receive antitrust clearance from the European Commission.

"For the third time in the past 12 months, we believe we have discovered a substantial acquisition that gives AMC yet another opportunity to further expand and diversify our geographic reach and more firmly establish AMC as the undisputed leader in movie exhibition worldwide," Adam Aron, AMC Entertainment CEO, said in a statement.

AMC had acquired US-based Carmike Cinemas in December, making it the biggest movie operator in the US, surpassing Regal Entertainment.

Wanda is the largest theater operator in China and has been on a buying spree across the globe. It became the largest movie theater operator in Europe when it purchased British cinema chain Odeon and UCI through AMC Entertainment in November for $1.2 billion. London-based Odeon is the biggest movie chain in Europe and operates 242 theaters and 2,234 screens across Europe.

In Australia, Wanda purchased cinema chain Hoyts Groups in 2015 for $365 million. Hoyts operates approximately 450 screens across Australia. Prior to that, the Chinese company purchased AMC Entertainment in 2012 for $2.6 billion, which was one of the biggest Chinese acquisitions of an American company at the time.

Stanley Rosen, a politics professor at the University of Southern California, said the deal is "part of a consolidation and economies of scale strategy. That makes more sense than keeping everything separate. AMC is a Wanda company after all and is already strong in Europe, so it's the same as buying them outright."

AMC's Aron said that the company is "excited by the growth potential of Nordic as it moves forward with 10 theaters already in development or re-development. We have been impressed with Nordic's talented leadership team, and further believe that their added expertise will be invaluable to us in helping to drive AMC's progress across Europe. AMC will bring additional efficiencies of scale and innovative strategic initiatives to the Nordic brands."

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