LEAWOOD , Kan., July 12 (UPI) -- Theater owner AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. announced Tuesday it will buy Britain's Odeon movie theater chain in the first billion-dollar deal since June's Brexit vote.
AMC, owned by China's Dalian Wanda Group Co., will buy Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group, Europe's largest movie theater chain, for $1.2 billion in cash and stock, and assume Odeon's debt. With the referendum on Britain's leaving the European Union and the subsequent decline in the value of the British pound, the deal is much less expensive for AMC than it would have been several weeks ago.
AMC said it is still negotiating to acquire Carmike Cinemas Inc., the United States' fourth-largest theater chain, whose properties are largely in rural areas, but it warned it is prepared to abandon the deal if Carmike's major shareholders insist on more than the $30-per-share price AMC has offered. AMC is America's second-largest movie theater chain, behind Regal Entertainment Group. Its purchase of either Odeon & UCI or Carmike would increase its size dramatically.
Speaking on CNBC Tuesday, AMC CEO Adam Aron said, "There are some real bargains to be had in Europe for American companies. We might be the first company to announce a billion-dollar acquisition in Europe, taking advantage of the currency exchange rate, but I don't think we'll be the last."