Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Cineworld Agrees To Buy Regal Entertainment For $3.6 Bln

The investigation concerns whether the Regal board failed to satisfy its duties to the Company shareholders, including whether the board adequately pursued alternatives to the acquisition and whether the board obtained the best price possible for Regal shares of common stock.

Amy Miles, the Regal chief executive, said the offer represented "a meaningful premium on Regal's unaffected share price" and provided "compelling value for our stockholders".

News of the confirmed deal say shares fall by 2.5 percent at midday.

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The company is growing by expanding into the United States as the country's chains of theaters struggle with sluggish attendance at movies. Many films this year have failed to meet expectations at the box office, and the summer season - usually the most lucrative for the industry - was the worst since 2006. The stock has a market capitalization of $3.22 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.09 and a beta of 0.92.

Cineworld now has more than 2,000 screens in 221 sites, while also being the owner of Picturehouse Cinemas, another movie chain. Bigger movies still draw larger audiences and those who watch Netflix and Amazon at home are still likely to go to the theaters, he said.

Regal Entertainment Group most recently reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.07 for the September 2017 versus $0.29 in the same quarter previous year, representing -76% growth. Royal Bank Of Canada upgraded shares of Regal Entertainment Group from a sector perform rating to an outperform rating and increased their price objective for the company from $19.00 to $20.00 in a report on Thursday, October 26th.

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Changes it is considering include making the Regal ticketing systems and movie theaters more modern.

The transaction will be financed through a combination of debt and the sale of about £1.7 billion in equity. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company's stock.

Billionaire Philip Anschutz's Anschutz Corp. has agreed to provide its written consent to back the deal, the only Regal shareholder action required to approve the transaction, Cineworld said.

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Regal, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, operates 7,315 screens in 561 theaters in the USA under brands including Regal Cinemas and United Artists. In 2014, Cineworld bought Polish Cinema City International for about 500 million pounds and it acquired small, more highbrow United Kingdom chain Picturehouse for 47 million pounds in 2012. Regal unsuccessfully tried to sell itself in 2014.

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