The department and the State of Connecticut filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block the $172 million deal but proposed the settlement. The proposed consent decree specifically calls for AMC to divest the Starplex Berlin 12 in Berlin and the Starplex Town Center Plaza 10 in East Windsor to a buyer approved by the DOJ.
“Consumers have benefited from the competition on price and on quality of the viewing experience between AMC’s and Starplex Cinemas’ theatres in Berlin, Connecticut, and East Windsor, New Jersey,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer, of the Antitrust Division. “The divestiture of two theatres in those areas ensures that movie theater competition is preserved.”
AMC has 349 theaters with a total of 4,975 screens. Starplex Cinemas would add 33 theaters with 346 screens in 12 states.
Last month, interim CEO Craig Ramsey called Starplex “a great circuit with theaters in complementary markets where we believe there is value to be unlocked by deploying our strategic initiatives” including installation of recliner seats.
He anticipated “potential overlap situations” but added that AMC was still “sticking with our end of the calendar year 2015 target date for completion of the merger and bringing those assets on-line.”