Chinese Wanda Group Exits AMC Theatres Ownership

Dalian Wanda Group, the multi-industry Chinese company that acquired AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion in 2012, has quietly liquidated most of its shares in the world’s largest theatrical exhibitor.

Wanda America Entertainment May 21 in a regulatory filing disclosed reducing its AMC stake to stake to 0.002% — down from 6.8% in early April. The company has been reducing its shares as the pandemic continued undermining much of the exhibitor business worldwide through closures, limited movies from studios and reduced seating capacity, among other issues.

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In addition, Wanda saw its shares in AMC further diluted earlier this month when the exhibitor sold 43 million shares to institutional investors, raising $428 million in new equity funding in the process.

“Wanda has been a terrific shareholder of AMC for almost a decade,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “Under their ownership, AMC became the biggest movie theater operator in the world. Importantly, Wanda also has supported our reinvesting billions of dollars to upgrade and enhance our network of theaters for the benefit of moviegoers throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East. I salute Wanda for the immensely constructive role they played in building our company, and want to express my sincerest appreciation and affection for their wise counsel and friendship.”

Interestingly, AMC shares are up more than 470% this year largely due to individual day traders crowdsourcing moves on the exhibitor, and separately video game retailer GameStop, via Reddit forums.