The world’s largest movie exhibition chain just became a little bigger: Wanda Group’s AMC Entertainment today closed its $964 million deal to buy Stockholm-based Nordic Cinema Group, the largest cinema chain in the Nordic and Baltic regions.
Nordic shareholders — led by private equity firm Bridgepoint and Swedish media group Bonnier Holding — received $651.9 million in cash, while AMC repaid $312.5 million in the chain’s debt.
AMC says it expects to find $5 million of annual cost savings. The deal shouldn’t affect its quarterly dividend, an important sweetener for investors.
Nordic becomes a subsidiary of London-based Odeon Cinemas Group, which AMC bought in November.
Former Nordic CEO Jan Bernhardsson is now COO of Odeon, and EVP of AMC Europe, reporting to AMC Europe President Mark Way.
Nordic is the No. 1 theater owner in Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It’s also No. 2 in Norway, but will become the largest next year when a new theater opens. It’s also in Denmark.
“This acquisition contributes immediately to AMC’s continuing growth, furthers our geographic diversification and provides the potential for significant future growth opportunities in key European markets,” AMC chief Adam Aron says in a statement.
“Clearly, Europe will be a significant part of the AMC growth story, and AMC looks forward to bringing to Europe the innovative theatre experiences for which we are known in the U.S. to delight movie fans across Europe,” he adds.
Nordic has 68 theaters with 463 screens and close to a 50% investment in 50 theaters with 201 screens.
That leaves AMC with more than 1,000 theater and 11,000 screens in 15 countries.
Nordic generated $375 million in revenues in the 12 months ending in September. Its profit margin in the period “exceeded those of AMC,” the company says.