Regal topper cashed in as chain lost coin

Chapter 11 filing likely for troubled co.

Regal Cinemas chairman and CEO Michael Campbell got a 4% boost in salary to $547,060 and an additional $150,000 bonus last year, even as the No. 1 U.S. exhib absorbed a greatly expanded annual loss of $366.5 million, according to a new regulatory filing.

Campbell received no bonus in 1999, when Regal’s red ink totaled $88.5 million.

The revelations came in a 10-K annual report filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Knoxville, Tenn.-based circuit is owned by a pair of investment banks, with a bond holders group led by entertainment entrepreneur Philip Anschutz angling for a takeover amid a severe cash crunch (Daily Variety, 3/27/2001). The regulatory filing made no mention of that showdown but noted “the company has engaged financial advisers and is currently evaluating a long-term financial plan to address various restructuring alternatives.”

Reorganization likely

Regardless of whether the current majority owners — Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts — or someone like the Anschutz group emerge from the power struggle with control of Regal, it’s believed the circuit will have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

In the 10-K filing, Regal revealed that its assets totaled $1.99 billion as of Dec. 28, compared with a year-earlier $2.08 billion. Liabilities totaled $2.03 billion — dramatically more than the $164.4 million a year earlier.

Debt woes are at the center of a tide of bankruptcy reorganizations that have already washed over the exhibition biz. Ten exhibs who previously filed for Chapter 11 have used those proceedings to hasten the closing of money-losing properties as the industry undertakes its first retrenchment in screen count in decades.

Regal said it closed 328 screens in 54 theaters in 2000 and maintained a year-end total of some 4,000-plus screens in 391 venues, about 13% of the industry total. Some 266 of the total involve long-term leases and the rest of the properties are owned-and-operated sites.