US theater chain AMC to buy Stockholm-based Nordic Cinema for US$929 million

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - AMC Entertainment Holdings, the No. 1 US theater operator, said it would buy Nordic Cinema Group, the largest cinema chain in the Nordic and Baltic countries, for the equivalent of US$929 million (S$1.3 billion) in cash.

AMC said on Monday is would buy Nordic Cinema from European private equity firm Bridgepoint and Swedish media group Bonnier Holding.

Nordic Cinema, which has 68 theaters in about 50 cities, will operate as a unit of London-based Odeon Cinemas Group, the largest cinema operator in Europe that AMC acquired in November, AMC said.

AMC said Nordic Cinema's revenues was the equivalent of about US$375 million in the year ended Sept. 30, while its operating margins for the period exceeded those of AMC.

The company said it expects the deal to be closed by June 30, after which it would operate 1,000 theaters in 15 countries in the United States and across Europe.

AMC said the transaction has fully committed debt financing in place arranged by its financial adviser, Citigroup.

Nomura International is Nordic Cinema's financial adviser.