Exhibitor AMC Entertainment Files for IPO

7:54 AM PST 08/30/2013 by Georg Szalai , Paul Bond
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The company, which is owned by China's Wanda Group, has considered going public a couple of times in recent years.

Exhibition giant AMC Entertainment, which last year was acquired by China's Dalian Wanda Group, on Friday filed for an IPO again.

The initial public offering will be worth up to $400 million, and the company's stock will trade under ticker symbol AMC on the New York Stock Exchange, the cinema company said in a regulatory filing. It didn't immediately detail how many shares it plans to sell and at what price.

AMC has looked at going public a couple of times in recent years. It filed for an IPO in 2007 only to withdraw its plans later. It made another IPO filing in 2010, but didn't go ahead with the plan to go public and was then acquired by Wanda in a $2.6 billion deal.

Wanda is controlled by its chairman, Wang Jianlin, who is worth $14 billion and is the richest many in China, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Wanda owns real estate, department stores, office buildings and in June it paid $1.6 billion for Sunseeker International, a British maker of yachts that have been used in James Bond movies.

When AMC is combined with theaters Wanda owns in China, it represents the largest chain in the world. Wanda's other entertainment assets include karaoke bars and investments in live shows and movies.

AMC, which operates 343 theaters primarily in North America, said it may use money raised from the IPO to finance expansion and repay some of its $2.1 billion in long-term debt.

When AMC ditched plans for an IPO more than four years ago it was attributed to bad timing, given the company was posting declining sales and profits.
 
But the first half of this year, AMC said revenue increased 2.6 percent to $1.34 billion and profit soared more than 100 percent to $41 million.

Plus, Wall Street seems receptive to the movie exhibition industry nowadays, as shares of Cinemark Holdings and Carmike Cinemas have risen 17 percent so far this year and stock in Regal Entertainment Group is up 31 percent.

The stocks of all three of those theater chains have outperformed the S&P 500, which is up 14 percent on the year thus far.

 

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