AMC Theatres can acquire Carmike Cinemas for $1.2 billion to create the biggest movie exhibition chain in the country, but only under certain circumstances, federal regulators said Tuesday.
The U.S. Department of Justice said its conditional approval stipulates that AMC sell theaters in 15 markets in nine states where it competes with Carmike and that it divest most of its holdings in National CineMedia, the in-theater advertising company.
AMC, majority-owned by the Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, said the DOJ’s action represents “the final regulatory hurdle” in its goal of acquiring Carmike.
AMC operates about 388 movie theaters with about 5,300 screens in the U.S., while Carmike has about 271 theaters with nearly 2,920 screens.
Shares of AMC on Tuesday rose 1 percent to $33.45, while Carmike shares were up fractionally to $33.40. Shares of National CineMedia, though, sunk more than 5 percent to $14.50.