AMC Theatres' Odeon & UCI Acquisition Gets EU Approval

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It is expected to close by the end of the month.

AMC Theatres’ $1.2 billion acquisition of European exhibitor Odeon & UCI Cinemas has been approved by European Union regulators.

It is expected to close by the end of the month.

“We’re pleased by the European Commission’s approval,” Adam Aron, CEO and president of AMC, said Wednesday in a statement. “With today’s approval, we’re one step closer to gaining first-mover advantage in Europe by delivering AMC’s proven guest-favorite initiatives, such as plush recliner seats, to European moviegoers.”

With the deal, AMC said it will become the largest movie theater operator in the world. It is expected to result in AMC’s operation of 632 theaters and more than 7,500 screens in eight countries.

Earlier this week, shareholders of Carmike Cinemas approved the $1.2 billion sale to AMC. That deal is subject to regulatory review in the U.S. and may not close until early 2017.

With 244 theaters and 2,251 screens, Odeon & UCI is currently the biggest movie theater operator in Europe. With 90 million tickets sold annually, it is also the No. 1 operator in the U.K. and Ireland, Italy and Spain; No. 2 in Austria and Portugal; and No. 4 in Germany. For 2015, Odeon/UCI's revenue amounted to $1.14 billion.