Wanda says its acquisition of AMC Entertainment should close at the end of August. The $2.6B deal — mostly from Wanda’s assumption of AMC debt — was cleared by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. and the Federal Trade Commission as well as China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Commerce, and State Administration of Foreign Exchange. The company’s betting on U.S. exhibition at a time when the industry’s prospects are murky — and not simply due to last week’d tragedy in Aurora, Colo. Things look good now: Stock prices for chains including Carmike, Cinemark, and Regal have outperformed the overall market over the last few years — including over the last 12 months and year-to-date in 2012. Investors have been impressed by theaters’ ability to keep raising prices for tickets and concessions even as the number of admissions has either remained flat or declined. But consumers are starting to push back. For example, many chains have had to lower their pric- hike expectations for 3D movies. Studios also haven’t abandoned their hope to offer recently released movies on VOD, which theater owners say could cut into their sales.
Here’s the release from Wanda and AMC:
BEIJING, China and KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 25, 2012 — Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd. (“Wanda”), a leading Chinese private conglomerate and China’s largest investor in cultural and entertainment activities, and AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (“AMC”), a preeminent U.S. movie exhibitor, today announced they have received all necessary regulatory approvals in the U.S. and China for the planned acquisition of AMC by Wanda.
Wanda and AMC have received notice from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (“CFIUS”) that CFIUS has cleared the transaction. The companies had previously received notice from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission of early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act in relation to the transaction. Furthermore, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top economic planning agency, has given Wanda approval to proceed with its proposed acquisition, as have China’s Ministry of Commerce and State Administration of Foreign Exchange.
With all regulatory review now concluded, Wanda and AMC expect to complete the transaction at the end of August.