Cineworld Receives 40 Bids From Potential Buyers for Non-U.S. Assets

Regal Entertainment Group-parent Cineworld has received around 40 non-binding bids from potential buyers, but with none showing interest in the exhibition giant’s UK or U.S. assets or coming near to covering a $6 billion debt load.

On Tuesday, during a virtual status session before Judge Marvin Isgur of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston, Joshua Sussberg, a lawyer for U.K.-based Cineworld, said the initial bids received by a Feb. 16 deadline were all for rest of the world assets, mainly for theaters in central Europe, eastern Europe and Israel.

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And while the initial sales process fielded “some strategic interest in the whole business,” Sussberg reported that none of the bids from prospective buyers represented all-cash offers. “And no bid came anywhere near to the $6 billion of securities that exists on the company’s balance sheet today,” the Cineworld lawyer added.

The lack of firm bids for the whole of Cineworld leaves the company now moving towards a court-directed settlement of its bankruptcy process without the firm prospect of keeping the company intact as interest in the east European assets especially has come to the fore.

Cineworld and its lenders have set a second final bid deadline for April 10, with a formal auction to be held a week later on April 17. At the same time, on a parallel track, the exhibitor and its creditors continue to negotiate a reorganization support agreement, likely to include a debt-for-equity transaction, to be tentatively considered and possibly approved by the court by the end of May.

“I admit there’s still some major issues still outstanding. But we are all committed on the professional side to work through and do whatever it takes, whether that means sitting at home for multiple days to get this executed next week,” Sussberg told the court as both parties remain committed to reaching a RSA agreement by Feb. 27.

If that final agreement on a reorganization of Cineworld cannot be concluded, however, the sales process for some or all of Cineworld assets as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy settlement is expected to move to the front burner.

In Sept. 2022, Cineworld, the world’s second largest movie theater company and owner of Regal Cinemas in the U.S., made a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the Texas court as it grapples with lower admissions post-pandemic and a heavy debt load.

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