Odeon and UCI Cinema Group have been snapped up by US cinema giant AMC in a deal just shy of a billion pounds.
AMC, owned by Chinese investment group Dalian Wanda led by China’s richest man Wan Jianlin, put down £921m ($1.21bn) for the group.
Across Europe the group boasted 242 theatres and 2,236 screens. By bringing it into the fold, AMC now operates 627 theatres and more than 7,600 screens in eight countries, making it an entertainment heavyweight in the UK and on the continent.
The company said that the acquisition bolsters its global footprint and gives it a “scalable market position in Europe”.
AMC chief executive and president Adam Aron, said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to acquire Europe’s leading cinema chain and create the world’s biggest and best theatre operator.
“Odeon & UCI is a great business with iconic brands, strong market presence and passionate teams, and their impressive recent transformation is just the beginning. By introducing AMC’s operational expertise, scale and innovative guest initiatives across Odeon & UCI’s prime theatre locations and digital channels, we expect to drive attendance in these international markets and leverage the growing international demand for movie-going.”
Aron concluded that the Brexit provided a suitable climate for the buyout: “While we acknowledge that there are some uncertainties related to Brexit, we are encouraged that current currency rates are highly favorable to AMC with the pound falling to a three-decade low versus the dollar. In total, we believe this transaction will generate long-term value for our guests, our studio partners and our shareholders.”