AMC Entertainment, the world’s largest exhibition chain, is moving in on the Nordic region.
The U.S.-exhibitor has reached an agreement to acquire the Stockholm-based Nordic Cinema Group, the largest cinema chain in the Nordic and Baltic regions for a cool $929M (SEK8.15M).
AMC is purchasing Nordic from European private equity firm Bridgepoint and Swedish media group Bonnier Holding in an all-cash transaction, conditional upon antitrust clearance from the European Commission, which is expected in the first half of this year.
Nordic operates in seven countries under several brands: SF Bio in Sweden; Finnkino in Finland; SF Kino in Norway; and Forum Cinemas in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It operates associated theaters in Denmark. The company has 68 theatres with 463 screens and also has a substantial minority investment (approximately 50% ownership) in another 50 associated theatres with 201 screens.
The acquisition will see Wanda-Group-controlled AMC expand its global footprint even further, hitting a milestone of 1,000 theaters in 11,000 screens across 15 countries and will mean that AMC is not only the largest cinema chain in the U.S. but also in Europe and the world. In November, AMC took advantage of the post-Brexit devalued pound Sterling and purchased UK-based Odeon & UCI Cinemas for $1.2B.
Under the new deal, Nordic will maintain its Stockholm headquarters but will also operate as a subsidiary out of London-based Odeon.
“For the third time in the past twelve months, we believe we have discovered a substantial acquisition that gives AMC yet another opportunity to further expand and diversify our geographic reach and more firmly establish AMC as the undisputed leader in movie exhibition worldwide,” said AMC CEO and President Adam Aron in a statement. “It has been our observation that Nordic is extremely well-run with a modern up-to-date theatre circuit that in our opinion offers tremendous value potential for AMC over the foreseeable future. We are also excited by the growth potential of Nordic as it moves forward with 10 theatres already in development or re-development.”