Carmike Cinemas Shareholders Approve $1.2 Billion AMC Merger

Carmike Cinemas Exterior - H 2011

Carmike Cinemas Exterior - H 2011

Chinese-owned AMC Entertainment Holdings is on course to become the world's biggest theater chain.

AMC Entertainment Holdings has jumped another hurdle to becoming the world's largest exhibitor.

Chinese-owned AMC, the second-largest U.S. theater chain, on Tuesday secured shareholder approval from Carmike Cinemas for its amended $1.2 billion merger priced at a raised $33.06 a share and some AMC stock. "We are pleased with the outcome of today's vote," David Passman, Carmike president and CEO, said a statement following the extraordinary shareholder meeting in Atlanta.

Just over 86 percent of the shares voted at the meeting went in favor of the merger, representing around 72 percent of Carmike's outstanding stock. Now AMC awaits a review by the U.S. Department of Justice on the proposed combination, with completion of the deal expected by the end of the year.

The shareholder vote on combining AMC's 5,426 screens with Carmike's 2,954 screens had been delayed three times since a $30 a share, $1.1 billion deal for Carmike was first unveiled in March 2016. Concerns by major Carmike shareholders that AMC's original offer wasn't rich enough prompted the vote postponements.

With the Carmike deal closer to happening, AMC is set to jump ahead of the Regal Entertainment Group, which is currently the top chain, to become the biggest theater circuit in the U.S. and around the world.

AMC, set to have more than 600 theater locations in 45 U.S. states once the Carmike sale goes ahead, has a separate $1.2 billion deal to buy European cinema giant Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group. Odeon/UCI has 242 cinemas and 2,236 screens mainly in the U.K., Spain, Italy and Germany, with some screens in Austria, Portugal and Ireland.

The Odeon/UCI acquisition has secured shareholder approval. AMC Entertainment Holdings is a subsidiary of the Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, which acquired AMC for $2.6 billion in 2012.