Exhib Consolidation

AMC, others make 'General' bids

The tangle of beleaguered U.S. exhib players is looking a little less knotted as Regal Cinemas’ long march into bankruptcy finally has a timeline and contenders for General Cinemas’ assets submitted final bids to the bankruptcy courts.

Management of the Knoxville, Tenn.-based Regal endorsed a $1.25 billion reorganization proposal Sept. 6 that would give financier Philip Anschutz control of the nation’s biggest circuit and unprecedented sway over U.S. exhibition.

The prepackaged bankruptcy plan is being shopped to unsecured creditors, the only group of Regal lenders not already controlled by Anschutz, and a Chapter 11 filing is expected within 45 days. A majority of creditors representing two-thirds of Regal’s debt must approve the plan by Oct. 5.

Anschutz could soon control more than 6,000 screens, almost one-fifth of the nation’s total, after getting Regal’s 3,898. Anschutz owns United Artists Theaters and is finalizing a proposal to take control of Edwards; those circuits boast a combined 2,200 screens.

Meanwhile, a surprise partnering of Century and Muvico figured among at least three offers for General Cinemas filed with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.

Others filing bids included AMC Entertainment and a partnership of Canadian conglom Onex and Oaktree Capital. Cinemark is also believed to have placed an offer.

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