AMC Entertainment will be sold to Chinese Dalian Wanda Group for a reported $2.6 billion, making them the largest theater business in the United States.
“This acquisition will help make Wanda a truly global cinema owner,” Wanda Chairman and President Wang Jianlin said in a statement. “We share with AMC a passion for the growth of the worldwide movie industry.”
This purchase is the group’s first investment outside of China and its first swing at the United States and Canada markets. The two countries together account for the world’s biggest film revenues with ticket sales of $10.2 billion last year. Chinese cinemas ranked a few spots below with $2.1 billion in revenue last year.
“For Wanda, the deal may allow it to secure more Hollywood movies for distribution in China in the long run,” said Steve Chow, an analyst with Kingsway Research in Hong Kong.
“Cinema operation is a growing business in China as people are willing to spend on entertainment as their income increases. In the U.S., it is a defensive business which generates a relatively steady income,” Chow said.
AMC currently employs about 18,500 people and owns 346 theaters. At this time, there isn’t any reports on whether the new purchase will affect their jobs.