Cinemark Selling Mexico Theater Chain

If approved, the deal would leave Mexico with exhibitor duopoly.

MEXICO CITY -- Texas-based Cinemark has entered into an agreement to sell its Mexico theater circuit to rival exhibitor Cinemex for an undisclosed amount. 

The deal, which requires approval from antitrust regulators, would leave Mexico with just two major players in the exhibition market: Cinemex and market leader Cinepolis.

Cinepolis, which says it's the fourth-largest theater outfit worldwide in terms of screen count, has nearly 2,600 screens in Mexico and about a 66 percent market share, according to Rentrak Mexico. Cinemex would be acquiring 290 screens from Cinemark, bringing its total to more than 2,200 and bumping up its market share to approximately 31 percent.

Cinemark said its Mexico theaters pulled in about $74 million in revenue last year. 

Cinemark will continue operations elsewhere in Latin America. "This transaction allows us to provide greater focus on the growth of our remaining Latin American operations located throughout Central and South America," Cinemark CEO Tim Warner said.  

GM Entretenimiento de Mexico, owned by Mexican mining magnate German Larrea, acquired Cinemex from AMC Entertainment in 2008 for an estimated $315 million. Then it merged its theater chain MM Cinemas with Cinemex and kept the Cinemex name. Last year, Cinemex purchased art-house circuit Cinemas Lumiere. 

Indie theaters and family-run chains have a mere 3 percent of the overall market share in Mexico.