Regal Entertainment Halts Search for Buyer

32 REP Premieres Regal Cinemas H
Courtesy of AEG

The theater chain said in October it would explore a sale.

Regal Entertainment Group, owner of one of the nation's largest theater chains, said Thursday it has called off its exploration of a sale -- at least for the time being.

The operator of 574 movie theaters in 42 states had told Wall Street in October that it was exploring the possibility of a sale, news that sent the stock soaring 15 percent higher in after-hours trading that day.

On Thursday, shares of Regal closed 3 cents higher to $21.09, giving the company a market capitalization of nearly $3.3 billion. The stock was little changed after the closing bell though it is likely to take a small hit when regular trading resumes on Friday.

The company said Thursday that its board of directors conducted an  examination of strategic alternatives with the advice of Morgan Stanley & Co. and concluded "that a sale of the company would not be in the best interest of its shareholders at this time."

The board added that it is "committed to evaluating any alternatives that would enhance shareholder value."