Chinese firm will become world's biggest cinema owner

BEIJING

Chinese real estate giant Wanda has received all the necessary regulatory approvals for its $2.6 billion purchase of U.S. theater chain AMC Entertainment, clearing the way for it to become the world’s biggest cinema owner.

It’s the largest purchase of a U.S. firm by a Chinese corporation and by far China’s most significant step into the Stateside exhib market, where AMC is North America’s second-biggest chain of cinemas.

The acquisition includes about $2 billion in assumed debt.

The two firms have received a notice from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. saying it has cleared the transaction, Wanda said in a statement.

The companies had previously received notice from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission of early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act in relation to the transaction, it said.

China’s top economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, has greenlit Wanda to proceed with the acquisition, as have China’s Ministry of Commerce and State Administration of Foreign Exchange. The transaction is expected to close at the end of August.

The Kansas City-based AMC operates 346 multiplex theaters mostly located in major U.S. and Canadian cities with a total of 5,034 screens.

Wanda, based in Dalian, northeast China, owns 86 theaters in China with 730 screens. It also has interests in production and distribution. Annual revenues are $16.7 billion, while it controls $35 billion in assets.

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