AMC strikes $1.2 billion European deal as US merger stalls

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. said it struck a deal to buy London-based Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group, Europe’s biggest theater chain, in a merger that would make AMC the largest theater operator in the world.

The deal for Odeon & UCI is expected to close in the fourth quarter. It still needs antitrust clearance by the European Commission and is subject to consultation with the European Works Council.

This deal arrives as Leawood, Kan.-based AMC’s pursuit of U.S. rival Carmike Cinemas has stalled. AMC announced a $1.1 billion acquisition of rival Carmike Cinemas earlier this year. The Carmike purchase was put on hold just as Carmike shareholders were to vote on the sale.

AMC is paying about $487.5 million in cash and $162.5 million in AMC shares to Terra Firma, the private equity firm that owns Odeon & UCI. The $1.2 billion price includes Odean & UCI debt that AMC is taking on in the purchase. Great Britain’s vote to exit the European Union depressed the value of the British pound and made AMC’s offer less costly in terms of U.S. dollars.

AMC is largely owned by China-based Dalian Wanda Group though a portion of AMC’s shares trade publicly. Shares gained $2.03, or 7.3 percent, to $29.80.

Read more: Kansas City Star

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