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UATC taps Merrill Lynch

NEW YORK — United Artists Theatre Circuit Inc., as expected, said it hired Merrill Lynch & Co. to investigate “strategic alternatives with respect to its ownership and capital structure,” including a possible sale of the company (Daily Variety, Aug. 18).

Merrill is expected to prepare a briefing book about UA for potential buyers, which could include investment funds interested in doing a private deal or other theater owners.

Investment partnerships managed by Merrill are the major shareholders in UA, so the sale of the exhib has been long expected. UA chief operating officer Kurt Hall said in a statement the process “is being accelerated as a result of the improved operating performance of the company combined with the very favorable financial markets.”

He said any sale was not expected to affect the company’s day-to-day operations or its recently announced development plans.

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