Edwards reorg plan confirmed

Anschultz, Oaktree to pay $56 mil for majority stake in exhib

U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles on Monday confirmed Edwards Theaters’ reorganization plan, which gives a group led by entertainment entrepreneur Philip Anschutz a 51% stake in the Newport Beach-based circuit.

The court nod had been expected since creditors of the longtime family-owned exhib gave their approval last month (Daily Variety, Aug. 29).

Terms call for Anschutz and partner Oaktree Capital to pay $56 million for their majority stake, with the family of CEO Jim Edwards retaining 49%. All secured creditors will be paid in full, while unsecured creditors will get 90%-100% of what’s owned them.

“Ensuring that our secured and unsecured creditors would be paid in full, while at the same time establishing realistic capital structure for the Edwards chain, was our key objective,” Edwards prexy Steve Coffey said.

Edwards has used Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings to close many underperforming theaters. The moves were similar to those taken by many other circuits in their bankruptcy reorgs, as the exhibition industry deals with a financial crunch caused by rapid overexpansion.

Edwards now operates 53 theaters and 669 screens. A spokeswoman said the exhib expects to emerge from its year-long bankruptcy reorg in the next seven to 10 days.

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