Regal Entertainment Group

Denver

Revenue: $2.03 billion

Profit: $53.1 million

Less than a year old, and exhib Regal Entertainment Group is already getting a lot of respect.

Mostly, that’s by dint of size after majority owner Philip Anschutz cobbled together an unprecedented 5,900 screens by combining the former Regal Cinemas with two other acquired circuits. The Denver-based billionaire first bought United Artists Theaters out of bankruptcy court and later added California’s Edwards Theaters to the mix.

But just as impressive as the size and scope of Regal’s exhib operations was its May debut on Wall Street. The stock immediately began trading up from its initial public offering launch price and shares have maintained a lofty level ever since.

That’s gone far to restoring credibility in the exhib sector in general. Rival AMC Entertainment subsequently launched a secondary offering amid the sudden sector enthusiasm, and longtime privately held circuit Cinemark Intl. mounted an initial public offering of its own.

Some Regal watchers have predicted the circuit soon will eye foreign territories for possible expansion, as any further growth in the U.S. could trigger too much scrutiny from antitrust regulators.

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