AMC Entertainment’s $1.2-billion deal to acquire Europe’s Odeon & UCI Cinemas has been approved by regulators at the European Commission. The deal can now move forward and is expected to close by Nov. 30.
With Odeon & UCI as Europe’s biggest cinema chain, AMC is set to become the largest movie-theater operator in the world, overtaking Regal Entertainment.
Earlier this week shareholders of the smaller North American chain Carmike gave their approval of another $1.2-billion deal to sell the company to AMC. That deal is subject to regulatory clearance in the U.S. and may not close until early 2017.
AMC is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is majority-owned by China’s Dalian Wanda group.
AMC is buying Odeon from U.K. private equity firm Terra Firma. The deal involves $467 million of cash (GBP375 million), the issue of AMC shares worth $158 million (GBP125 million) and the repayment of $588 million (GBP472 million) of debt.
Odeon & UCI operates 244 theaters and 2,251 screens in the U.K., Ireland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria and Portugal. Revenues for 2015 were $1.14 billion, and in the six months to June this year were $526 million.
After the Odeon & UCI acquisition, but before the Carmike deal, the combined AMC will have 632 theaters with more than 7,500 screens in eight countries.