AMC Theatres Becomes World’s No. 1 Chain As Odeon & UCI Deal Closes

David Lieberman
Deadline

AMC Theatres just became the world’s largest exhibition company with the closing of its $1.2 billion deal to buy UK-based Odeon & UCI Cinemas from Guy Hands’ private investment firm Terra Firma.

The transaction leaves Wanda Group-controlled AMC with 7,623 screens at 636 theatres in eight countries. It will become even larger if it can close its $1.2 billion deal to buy Carmike Cinemas, which is still being reviewed by Justice department antitrust officials.

AMC says it expects that “by the end of 2016 or early 2017.”

Odeon will be based in London as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMC. Its venues in the UK and Ireland will keep the Odeon brand. Those in Italy, Portugal, Germany and Austria will keep the UCI name. And those in Spain will maintain the Cinesa brand.

Guy Hands“We now have an international footprint, and will introduce throughout Europe our proven guest amenities like plush powered recliners, enhanced food and beverages and Dolby at AMC and Imax at AMC premium experiences,” CEO Adam Aron says.

The exhibition chain says the transaction won’t affect its quarterly dividend, which is important to investors as the exhibition industry matures.

Mark Way was promoted from Odeon’s CFO to President of AMC Europe. Ian Shepherd, who was Odeon’s Chief Commercial Officer, becomes Chief Operating Officer of the Odeon Cinemas Group.

Odeon CEO Paul Donovan is leaving.  His “ambitions lie in developing his career as a Chief Executive of a standalone enterprise,” and will advise AMC during the transition, Aron says.

Donovan lauded AMC’s “clarity of purpose” as well as “an ambition and an energy which means that our millions of guests across Europe can expect even better cinema-going experiences in the future.”

AMC gave Terra Firma $467.1 million in cash, $155.7 million worth of AMC stock, and assumed its $588.2 million debt.

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