Post Brexit, Pound Fell, Wanda’s AMC Picked Up Odeon In Bid to Rise to No.1

  • Wanda Group subsidiary AMC aims to buy Europe’s largest cinema chain, Odeon & UCI
  • The new company would hold over 7,500 screens
  • Falling value of the British pound post-Brexit sweetened deal

Dalian Wanda Group CEO Wang Jianlin (foreground) at the Fortune Global Forum 2013 with Disney CEO Bob Iger and then CEO of Burberry, Anglea Ahdrendts. (Creative Commons—Stephen Chow).

The United Kingdom barely had a new prime minister before Wanda Group subsidiary AMC Entertainment saw the falling value of the British pound as incentive to try to snap up Europe’s largest theater chain and create the world’s largest cinema exhibition company in a deal worth U.S.$1.22 billion.

AMC and, by extension, its parent company, Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group, said Tuesday it will  add the 242 theaters and 2,236 screens belonging to London-based Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group to its own 385 locations and 5,380 screens to become the number one cinema exhibitor in the world.

The U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union pushed the pound to its lowest value in 30 years, creating a buying opportunity for Wanda’s AMC.

Kansas-based AMC expects to boost ticket sales at the European movie theaters via upgrades that include “recliner seating, enhanced food and beverage, and premium large format auditoriums.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of the year if it gains the antitrust approval of the European Commission in consultation with the European Works Council.

AMC’s move to Europe comes amidst a stall in its attempted acquisition of Georgia-based Carmike Cinemas, which, if successful, would make a combined entity the largest exhibitor in the United States, adding Carmike’s 276 theaters and 2,954 screens in 41 states to AMC’s stable.

A dispute over Carmike’s valuation has put that acquisition in jeopardy. AMC is offering $30 per share for Carmike. Some Carmike shareholders believe $40 to be a fair price, Bloomberg reported.