The Wanda Group, a Chinese conglomerate with extensive interests in the entertainment business, has agreed to acquire AMC Entertainment, North America’s second-largest movie theater owner, in a deal that is valued at $2.6 billion, including roughly $2 billion in assumed debt, the companies said.
The acquisition creates the world’s largest theater group. It also represents a significant expansion of Chinese influence in the American film industry. The industry has been looking to China for a vast new reservoir of ticket buyers for Hollywood movies, while joining Chinese investors to produce films like the planned “Iron Man 3” and teaming up to build studio facilities and a new Disney theme park in China.
Wang Jianlin, chairman and president of Wanda, said his goal was to own theaters covering 20 percent of the world theater market by 2020. Speaking through a translator on Sunday, Mr. Wang said his aim for the circuits was to “combine, and synergize and make them profitable.”
The current deal offers Wanda a point of entry to the North American movie market. Its box-office, with about $10.2 billion in ticket sales last year, remains nearly five times the size of China’s, which is now the world’s second largest, with more than $2 billion in annual sales.
For details on the deal, please read www.wsj.com