AMC Theatres Closes Odeon & UCI Acquisition to Become Largest Exhibitor in Europe, World

AMC Theaters Exterior GETTY H 2016
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Odeon CFO Mark Way will become the acquired firm's new president as AMC CEO Adam Aron vows to "introduce throughout Europe our proven guest amenities."

AMC Theatres, owned by China's Dalian Wanda Group, said Wednesday it has completed its acquisition of London-based Odeon & UCI Cinemas, the largest movie exhibitor in Europe, from private equity firm Terra Firma in a deal valued at about $1.2 billion.

With the deal, AMC said it now operates 636 theaters with 7,623 screens in eight countries, "making it the largest movie exhibition company in the world."

Odeon has 244 cinemas and 2,243 screens, making it the top exhibitor in Europe. With 90 million tickets sold annually, it is also the biggest cinema group in the U.K. and Ireland, Italy and Spain; the number 2 in Austria and Portugal; and the number 4 in Germany.

"AMC today becomes the largest theater exhibitor in the world,” said Adam Aron, CEO and president of AMC. “We now have an international footprint and will introduce throughout Europe our proven guest amenities like plush powered recliners, enhanced food and beverages, and Dolby at AMC and Imax at AMC premium experiences. We are excited about our prospects of transforming the experience in Odeon theaters for our new European guests as they become part of our family of nearly 300 million movie goers across eight countries and two continents."

He added: "Looking ahead, our goal is to not only be the largest theater exhibitor in the world, but also the best.”

AMC said it would change the acquired firm's name to Odeon Cinemas Group. It also announced that current CEO Paul Donovan, who has served in the role since February 2014, will depart, with Mark Way, CFO since September 2014, becoming president, AMC Europe and managing director of Odeon Cinemas Group. Ian Shepherd, group chief commercial officer since June 2014, is the new executive vp, AMC Europe and COO of Odeon.

Said Aron: "Mark Way has been a key member of the Odeon executive team since 2014 as it transformed the strategy and fortunes of the company. Mark's extensive experience as CFO, as well as the 17 years he previously spent within Hilton Worldwide, gives him a unique opportunity to assess and steer many of Odeon strategic developments and to ensure that those with the best levels of return on investment are prioritized."

AMC said the acquired company's cinemas in the U.K. and Ireland will continue to operate under the Odeon brand; theaters in Italy, Portugal, Germany and Austria will continue to operate under the UCI brand; and cinemas in Spain will continue to operate under the Cinesa brand. For 2015, Odeon had revenue of $1.14 billion.

AMC also is in the process of acquiring U.S. exhibitor Carmike Cinemas. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of 2016 or early 2017.