AAM secures $68 mil for Euro digital rollout

Credit line from Boston-based Sankaty Advisors

LONDON -- British-based d-cinema integrator Arts Alliance Media (AAM) has secured a €50 million ($68 million) credit line from Boston-based Sankaty Advisors, the credit affiliate of Bain Capital.

The funds will be released to bankroll AAM's ambitious and ongoing rollout of digital cinema across Europe over the next two years, "subject to final documentation," the parties said Tuesday.

The deal is expected to close in 30 days. Sankaty Advisors currently manages approximately $20 billion in committed capital. The backing will provide a combination of senior and mezzanine debt for AAM's European digital deployment.

There are currently about 4,500 digital cinema screens in Europe -- approximately 75% of which are 3-D -- and that figure is expected to rise rapidly to almost 13,000 by the end of 2012.

AAM has digital cinema deals in place in seven territories within Europe including the U.K. and France. It has commitments in place for over 1,500 screens, which are currently in the process of being installed.

"The financial crisis of the past year slowed the process of digital cinema conversion, but the recent announcement by DCIP in the U.S., and now this announcement for Europe, illustrates that the rollout is now ready to move full speed ahead," said AAM CEO Howard Kiedaisch.

All screens installed by AAM are DCI compliant, and the company's strategic partnership with Arqiva Satellite & Media allows exhibitors to benefit from satellite delivery of alternative content events and features, as well.
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