AMC Entertainment’s growth ambitions aren’t limited to its deal to buy Carmike, it seems: The exhibition chain, owned by China’s Wanda Group, is preparing to offer the equivalent of $1.3 billion for Europe’s Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group, Bloomberg reports.
Odeon & UCI is owned by Guy Hands’ private-equity company Terra Firma. He hired bankers last year to look for buyers. Wanda was known to be interested in the chain which has 2,238 screens at 242 theaters in the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Austria, and Portugal.
AMC declined to comment.
RBC Capital Markets’ Leo Kulp says he’s “surprised at the timing of the deal” since AMC has agreed to pay $1.1 billion (including debt) for Carmike.
The companies are waiting for the agreement to be approved by antitrust officials as well as Carmike shareholders. Two of its largest investors, Mittleman Brothers and Driehaus Capital Management, are opposed, saying AMC’s $30 a share offer is too low.
But AMC CEO Adam Aron, who took charge in January, has made it clear that he — and his company’s owner — have big ambitions. “Wanda has global aspirations and I think it will be intriguing to see what joint opportunity there is for AMC and Wanda,” he told Deadline in December.
Stifel Research’s Benjamin Mogil says he detects “a strategic shift” under Aron, what might be “tied to increased capital outflow restrictions in China.”