Cineworld shareholders have approved the UK exhibition chain’s $3.6B deal to acquire Regal Cinemas, the circuit controlled by Philip Anschutz. The mega-merger will create the world’s second largest cinema group after AMC, operating in 10 countries with 9,542 screens across the U.S. and Europe.
Cineworld, which is part owned by Israel’s Greidinger family, announced that 87% of shareholders approved the deal, which is now expected to close next month.
The move came after Regal’s “go shop period,” which allowed the theater chain to actively solicit and evaluate competing offers, although despite suggestions that another prospective buyer could come in with a spoiler bid, this did not materialise.
The exhibition sector is under some pressure due to ongoing stress on the traditional movie model, and consolidation has been seen as the order of the day. Cineworld operates 2,217 screens across 232 sites in the UK, Ireland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Israel. Regal operates 7,315 screens in 561 theaters in 43 U.S. states along with Guam, Saipan, American Samoa and the District of Columbia. Each company has a market capitalization in the range of $2.5B-$3B.
Cineworld Chairman Anthony Bloom said: “As will be seen from the proxy votes, there was very strong support from Shareholders for the Acquisition. The Board would like to express its appreciation to Shareholders for this support, and to reiterate its confidence in this important development in the company’s history.”