AMC to buy Carmike, creating world's largest cinema chain

Los Angeles (AFP) - Chinese-owned AMC Entertainment has agreed to purchase Carmike Cinemas in a $1.1 billion deal that creates the world's largest movie theater chain, the companies said.

Under the cash transaction, AMC will pay $30 per outstanding share of US-based Carmike, in a takeover that includes assumption of Carmike's net debt.

The merger will combine Carmike's 2,954 screens with AMC's 5,426, creating a company with more than 600 theater locations across the United States.

The purchase price per screen is $376,000, the companies said in a release which reported that the merger would create the largest chain not only in the United States but across the globe.

AMC CEO Adam Aron said that the deal allows his company "to extend the reach of our innovative, guest-experience strategies to further transform the movie-going experience for millions of new guests."

Those innovations, he said, include plush power-recliners, enhanced food and beverage, premium sight and sound, greater guest engagement and targeted programming.

"AMC is poised to deliver the best possible movie experience to more movie-goers than ever before," he said.

The boards of directors of AMC and Carmike approved the merger, and the deal is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, the companies said.

The combined companies will operate theaters across 45 US states plus the District of Columbia.

Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group, owned by tycoon Wang Jianlin, bought the US chain AMC in 2012 for $2.6 billion.

His group owns more than 200 malls, shopping complexes and luxury hotels across China.

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