Mega-firms in $2.6bn cinema exit

Five private equity firms will sell interests in movie chain AMC following an initial investment by Apollo Global Management in 2001.

Private equity is getting out of the movie business.

A group of firms including Apollo Global Management, Bain Capital and The Carlyle Group will sell movie chain AMC Entertainment to Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group for about $2.6 billion. CCMP Capital Advisors and Spectrum Equity are also exiting investments in the company. At the time of the exit, Apollo and CCMP each owned roughly 20 percent of AMC, with Bain and Carlyle holding roughly 8 percent stakes in the company and Spectrum accounting for an additional 10 percent.

As part of the transaction, which is expected to close later this year, Dalian Wanda will invest an additional $500 million in AMC for strategic purposes, including the retirement of debt.

Apollo first invested $250 million in AMC in 2001 before taking the company private in 2004 for $2 billion alongside JP Morgan Chase’s buyout group, later rebranded as CCMP. In 2006, Apollo completed the merger of AMC and Loews Cineplex Entertainment, owned by Bain, Carlyle and Spectrum.

Apollo and Bain both declined comment. Carlyle, CCMP and Spectrum were not available for comment at press time. 

AMC, which operates 346 theaters in North America, registered for an initial public offering in 2006 but delayed plans for an IPO in 2008. The company filed again in 2010 but as yet to go public.