Cohen Media Group will acquire the nation’s largest and most prominent stateside independent theater chain, spanning 252 screens in 27 markets.
The announcement was made jointly today by Landmark Theatres President/CEO Ted Mundorff, Cohen Media Group Chairman Charles S. Cohen and Landmark’s previous owners Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban. Cohen will retain Landmark’s senior management team.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed, however, we hear that the deal was worth close to $100M, and it wasn’t entirely in cash, but shares as well.
Landmark boasts premium venues such as 57 West in New York City — which opened last year — the Landmark on Pico in Los Angeles, the Atlantic Plumbing Cinema in Washington D.C., the Landmark at Merrick Park in Coral Gables, FL, and the Landmark at Greenwood Village in Denver’s Tech Center, many of which include luxury dining. In particular, the Landmark on Pico and 57 West are known as destinations for awards-season voters as both locales host a multitude of screenings and talent Q&As.
Landmark also is the first first chain to introduce non-conventional seating with the installation of couches and love seats in theatres, in addition to DCP digital projectors. On the programming side, the company has become a recognized industry leader in the sector, providing customers with a wide variety of films including commercial, independent, foreign language and documentaries.
Landmark was purchased by 2929 Entertainment from Oaktree Capital in 2003. Under Wagner/Cuban’s ownership, Landmark has grown to become the pre-eminent flagship brand in the sophisticated arthouse exhibition. Seven years ago Wagner/Cuban put Landmark up for sale, but then later pulled it back into their fold. At that time, Wagner/Cuban was seeking $200M for the chain.
“Anyone who knows Charles, knows he is an avid lover of art and cinema, and this deal to purchase Landmark serves so many of his true passions and interests,” said Mundorff. “By acquiring our chain, he has supercharged and scaled his distribution footprint in the arthouse sector, where he has been a savvy distributor and producer for many, many years. He has also acquired the crown jewel in the arthouse exhibition arena with prime A-list locations and an established loyal base of customers who love our theaters, brand and diverse range of extraordinary, high-quality programming choices throughout the year.”
Said Cohen: “I have been in the arthouse business for a long time as both a distributor and a producer, and I know better than most, that these films need a special home and require the utmost care. Landmark is that home. I have long admired and respected the way Landmark has built and grown its business from the ground up and I love this area of the business. As the independent market has changed over the years, Ted and the entire Landmark team have done an outstanding job adjusting with the times, anticipating trends and opportunities and new areas for growth and exploration. I couldn’t be more excited to add Landmark to Cohen Media Group’s portfolio of companies. This is a phenomenal fit with our other businesses, and this deal will be welcome news to the filmmakers we do business with or plan to work with in the arthouse arena in the years ahead.”
Added Wagner and Cuban: “We are thrilled that we are passing the baton to Charles, a buyer who is passionate about independent cinema and who truly understands this market. As we complete our sale, we expect the transition between owners to be smooth and seamless with little to no impact on our staff or customers,” .
Cohen Media Group was formed in 2008 by Cohen, an executive producer of Frozen River, which garnered two Academy Award nominations. The Cohen Media Group is an Academy Award-winning independent theatrical distribution and production company, releasing the world’s best in contemporary and classic cinema. Cohen Media Group distributes select films throughout North America, allowing the CMG team to devote their best efforts towards each film’s fullest potential.
In addition to a dedication to high-quality new releases, Cohen Media Group also restores classic films under the label, Cohen Film Collection. The restorations, which include the Merchant Ivory collection and the Buster Keaton catalog, are re-released theatrically in pristine transfers and presentations.
Landmark Theatres was part of the Wagner/Cuban Companies, a vertically integrated group of media properties co-owned by Wagner and Cuban that also includes theatrical and home entertainment distribution company Magnolia Pictures, production company 2929 Productions, and HD networks AXS TV and HDNet Movies.
Stephens Inc. served as exclusive financial adviser to Landmark in the transaction.