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Just weeks after it was first reported that China’s Wanda Group, one of the country’s largest theater chain owners, was interested in buying AMC Entertainment, the owner of the second-largest chain in the U.S., the transaction is reportedly completed. The deal is worth an estimated $2.6 billion.
“This acquisition will help make Wanda a truly global cinema owner,” Wanda Chairman and President Wang Jianlin said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “We share with AMC a passion for the growth of the worldwide movie industry.”
The deal between Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd. and Kansas City-based AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. will create the largest cinema conglomerate in the world. According to Bloomberg though, Jianlin is not done. In an interview, the billionaire real-estate developer told the site that he is eyeing the purchase of a large European theater chain.
The transaction is not expected to affect any of AMC’s 18,500 employees and 346 theaters, reports THR. “With Wanda as its partner, AMC will continue to seek out new ways to expand and invest in the movie-going experience,” AMC CEO and President Gerry Lopez added in a statement.
Wanda says that it plans to spend up to $500 million on AMC’s debt and upgrading its theaters, Lopez said. He said that the upgrades will include installing more IMAX and 3D-ready theaters and adding dining options.
Earlier this month, the New York Times broke the story that Wanda and AMC were in talks. They had reportedly started negotiations over a year ago.