China-owned AMC buys Odeon & UCI cinemas
by Naman Ramachandran
- With 242 theatres and 2,236 screens, Odeon & UCI is currently the number-one theatre operator in Europe
US cinema chain AMC Theatres has confirmed the acquisition of London-based Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group from private-equity firm Terra Firma. The transaction is valued at £921 million. With 242 theatres and 2,236 screens, Odeon & UCI is currently the number-one theatre operator in Europe. With 90 million tickets sold annually, it is also the leading theatre operator in the UK and Ireland, Italy and Spain; the second largest theatre operator in Austria and Portugal; and the fourth largest theatre operator in Germany. Odeon & UCI had approximately £873 million of revenue for the last 12 months ending 31 March 2016. The combination of AMC and Odeon & UCI will result in AMC’s operation of 627 theatres and more than 7,600 screens in eight countries. AMC is owned by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda.
The transaction is conditional upon antitrust clearance by the European Commission and is subject to consultation with the European Works Council. AMC is also currently in a process to acquire US-based theatre exhibitor Carmike Cinemas. With or without the Carmike deal, the Odeon & UCI acquisition will make AMC the largest movie theatre operator in the world.
AMC CEO and president Adam Aron said, “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to acquire Europe’s leading cinema chain and create the world’s biggest and best theatre operator. With this opportunistic transaction, AMC will be extending the reach of our proven guest experience strategies to transform the movie-going experience for millions of moviegoers in Europe. Odeon & UCI is a great business with iconic brands, strong market presence and passionate teams, and their impressive recent transformation is just the beginning. By introducing AMC’s operational expertise, scale and innovative guest initiatives across Odeon & UCI’s prime theatre locations and digital channels, we expect to drive attendance in these international markets and leverage the growing international demand for movie going. While we acknowledge that there are some uncertainties related to Brexit, we are encouraged that current currency rates are highly favourable to AMC with the pound falling to a three-decade low versus the dollar. In total, we believe this transaction will generate long-term value for our guests, our studio partners and our shareholders.”
Odeon & UCI CEO Paul Donovan said, “As an innovator in guest experiences, AMC is the ideal partner for the next stage of our long-term growth in Europe, and this is very exciting news for our guests, our colleagues and the wider film industry.”
Odeon & UCI will continue to be headquartered in London and will operate as a subsidiary of AMC. It will continue operating under its current brand names: Odeon in the UK and Ireland; UCI in Germany, Italy, Austria and Portugal; and Cinesa in Spain. Odeon & UCI will continue to be led by Donovan and his management team.