May 23 – Dalian Wanda Group reached a US$2.6 billion acquisition deal on Monday to purchase AMC Entertainment, the second-largest operator of American movie theaters. Wanda Group already owns China’s largest movie theater chain by box office receipts, and has claimed that the acquisition of AMC will make it the world’s largest cinema owner by revenue.
Owned by Chinese real-estate tycoon and the country’s sixth wealthiest person Wang Jianlin, Wanda Group has business interests ranging from commercial property to film production and is China’s third largest cinema operator behind two state-owned giants. The company currently operates 86 theaters and 730 screens in China, which generated approximately RMB1.785 billion (US$282.4 million) in box office revenue in 2011, according to statistics from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.
As the second biggest cinema operator in the U.S. after Tennessee-based Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment currently operates 346 theaters with 5,034 screens across North America. Wanda has said that AMC’s headquarters will remain in the Kansas City area and day-to-day operations will continue unchanged. The company also said it is willing to invest an additional US$500 million to fund AMC’s strategic and operating initiatives.
The deal marks the largest investment to date by a Chinese company in the U.S. entertainment industry. According to Wang, his goal is to own movie theaters covering 20 percent of the world theater market by 2020.
“This acquisition will help make Wanda a truly global cinema owner,” Wang said in a statement. “We share with AMC a passion for the growth of the worldwide movie industry.”