AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc., the U.S. cinema chain owned by Dalian Wanda Group, has agreed to acquire London-based Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group from private equity firm Terra Firma in a transaction valued at approximately £921 million (US$$1.2 billion).
The deal, if completed, will make AMC the largest cinema operator globally with over 7,600 screens. It will also provide an exit for Terra Firma on a 12-year-old investment.
Terra Firma bought Odeon in 2004 for €650m to merge with UCI, which Terra Firma bought for €350m in the same year to create the U.K.’s largest cinema operator.
"Over £600 million was invested in growing the business and delivering our long-term transformational strategy," says Guy Hands, chairman and chief investment officer of Terra Firma. "Under Terra Firma, the number of Odeon & UCI screens increased from 1,453 in 2004 to 2,236 today."
The deal will be financed 75% in cash and 25% in stocks subject to lock-up periods.
In March, AMC agreed to acquire U.S. theater circuit Carmike for approximately US$1.1 billion, including the assumption of debt. But the deal’s future is uncertain as some Carmike shareholders are trying to make AMC increase the price.