British cinema operator Cineworld, which also owns the Picturehouse chain, has confirmed it is in talks with US rival Regal to buy the business for $3.6bn (£2.7bn).
The companies announced the news of the $25-per-share offer in the US last night, and at the start of business today in the UK.
Cineworld wants to establish a presence outside the UK, and said that Regal – as the second-largest cinema chain across the pond – would provide it with “a highly attractive platform in the world’s largest cinema market”.
It added it would finance the deal through a mixture of debt and new equity to be issued, “including a commitment to full subscription” from its largest shareholder Global City Holdings. The Polish entertainment business holding company owns 28 per cent of Cineworld.
According to Cineworld's statement, the companies are in “advanced discussions” and are “finalising due diligence”.
Regal's shares shot up by as much as 16 per cent as the news broke in the US, ending the day up 7.6 per cent at $19.63, and continued to climb in after-hours trading.