Regal Entertainment’s share price fell about 5.3% in post-market trading today after the No. 1 exhibition chain disclosed that its parent, the Anschutz Corp., will unload 13 million publicly traded Class A shares in a secondary offering.
The sale will leave entrepreneur Philip Anschutz still in charge of the chain with 74% of the votes. Although his Class A stock holdings will fall to 37 million shares, or 27.8% of the total, he owns all of the Class B shares that come with 10 votes apiece.
Anschutz stands to collect about $302.8 million based on Regal’s closing price today of $23.29. He’ll see all of the proceeds: “No shares are being sold by management or the Company,” Regal says.
BofA Merrill Lynch will handle the sale, offering shares “from time to time” to direct buyers, through its agents or New York Stock Exchange brokers.
Regal shares are up 23.4% so far this year as Wall Street warmed to the prospect of strong box office sales later this year and in 2017.
But Regal’s prospects became a little cloudier during the past few months. Last week it reported disappointing results for Q2. Meanwhile its chief competitor, AMC Entertainment, has been busily making deals to become the world’s biggest exhibition chain. It recently agreed to pay $1.2 billion for UK-based Odeon & UCI Cinemas, and $1.2 billion for Carmike Cinemas.
CEO Amy Miles told analysts last week that Regal is “carefully evaluating the alternatives available to us — including investing in future growth via acquisitions and capital expenditures, strengthening the company’s balance sheet and returning value to shareholders via recurring and special dividends.”
In 2014, Regal hired Morgan Stanley to act as financial adviser after the board authorized “the exploration of strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, which may include a potential sale of the Company.” But it concluded in January 2015 that it would not look for a buyer.
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