Wanda's AMC theater chain to buy Carmike for $1.1 billion

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LOS ANGELES (AP) — AMC Entertainment, the movie theater chain bought by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group in 2012, is acquiring rival chain Carmike Cinemas for $1.1 billion including debt.

The acquisition will make the combined entity the largest theater chain in North America and the world, and signals Wanda's further expansion into entertainment. It comes just two months after Wanda said it would spend $3.5 billion to acquire mid-level studio Legendary Entertainment, the co-financier of blockbusters like "Jurassic World" and "The Dark Knight."

AMC will pay $30 a share, about 19 percent higher than the $25.11 Carmike shares closed at Thursday.

Wanda is also behind a multibillion-dollar studio complex being built in eastern China that was used to shoot the upcoming movie, "The Great Wall."

The combined entity will boost AMC's theater locations by more than 70 percent to well over 600 and boost its screen count by half to nearly 8,400. Both boards approved the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year.

AMC CEO Adam Aron said in a statement he hopes the move will boost profits in 2017 and enable about $35 million in annual savings, while bringing upscale amenities like alcohol service to more venues.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. is based in Leawood, Kansas. Carmike Cinemas Inc. is headquartered in Columbus, Georgia.