Show’s off: Cineworld dismisses talk of deal with Odeon-owner AMC
Beleaguered cinema chain Cineworld rubbished suggestions it was in talks to sell off some of its assets to Odeon-owner AMC today, after the US firm claimed it had been in talks to snap up some of Cineworld’s US and European theatres last month.
London-listed Cineworld, the world’s second largest cinema chain, filed for bankruptcy in the US in September after taking on heavy debts and suffering from a slump in audience numbers over summer. Bosses have since been looking to restructure the firm in a bid for survival.
That came after two years of pandemic-era losses, with blockbusters including the new James Bond film providing only temporary relief.
Kansas-headquartered AMC said in regulatory filings on December 21st it had been in talks to buy a slew of theatres from Cineworld in the US and Europe as part of the restructuring efforts.
But Cineworld, which operates the Regal Cinemas and Picturehouse chains, dismissed the suggestions today and denied that the two parties were in direct talks.
“In light of recent media reports, Cineworld would like to clarify that neither it nor its advisers have participated in discussions with AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. regarding the sale of any of its cinema assets,” the firm said in a statement this morning.
“Cineworld also understands that neither the ad hoc group of lenders under the Group’s 2018 credit facility nor its advisers were party to discussions with AMC.”
Cineworld said however it was set to pursue a “value maximising transaction for the Group’s assets” but plans had not yet been drawn up in full.
“It is expected that outreach to potential transaction counterparties will commence in January 2023 as Plan negotiations continue,” the firm said.
“Any actionable, value-maximising sale transaction emerging from buyer outreach is expected to run in parallel with the pursuit of confirmation of the proposed Plan.”
Bosses said the firm had been in talks with “key stakeholders” over a plan for the restructuring that would “maximise value for the benefit of moviegoers and all other stakeholders”, but added that the discussions were ongoing and no firm plan had been agreed.
The firm said on 5th December that it intends to emerge from bankruptcy intact and would not spin-off any of its global operations on an individual basis.
Cineworld was forced to file for bankruptcy in the US in September after struggling under the weight of debts it had accumulated in an acquisitions spree, including the $3.6bn deal to buy Regal.
The Cinema chain suffered from a slump in customers across the industry which was then exacerbated by a slower than expected rebound in numbers over the summer. Shares in the firm are trading down over 80 per cent in the past six months.