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AMC Entertainment public stock offering raises $331.6 million

Updated: 2013-12-18T03:20:33Z

By MARK DAVIS

The Kansas City Star

After a nine-year absence, AMC Entertainment Inc. returned to Wall Street with a public stock offering Tuesday.

Its shares, representing about 20 percent ownership of the Leawood-based cinema giant, sold for $18 each and raised $331.6 million, according to Bloomberg News. Trading on the New York Stock Exchange begins Wednesday.

AMC became the third Kansas City area company to go public this year.

Aratana Therapeutics Inc. in Kansas City, Kan., sold $39.7 million worth of stock in June to bolster its efforts to produce pet medicines. QTS Realty Trust Inc., an Overland Park company that operates data centers for other companies, sold shares for $295.8 million in October.

Some of the money AMC raised came from its employees and members of its AMC Stubs loyalty program, as well as the general public. The unusually wide pitch was handled by online broker Loyal3, which had a limited number of shares to offer.

Control of AMC remains with China-based Dalian Wanda Group, which bought the company for $2.6 billion in September 2012. Wanda Group still owns about 80 percent of AMC’s stock.

The money will repay debts or go for other general corporate purposes, AMC has said.

Paying down debt might help the company’s credit rating, but Moody’s Investors Service said it expects no change based on the stock offering.

AMC is likely to begin to pay a stock dividend that “could exceed the interest reduction from the repayment of debt” and leave the company with less unencumbered cash for other uses, Moody’s said.

Documents describing the stock offering said AMC management also is looking at innovation opportunities as the industry’s principal business practice is changing. Instead of focusing on how many screenings a company shows, the company’s report said, success will depend more on how good the moviegoing experience is for customers.

AMC operates hundreds of theaters, totaling 4,950 screens, and collected $2 billion in revenue through September this year.

To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372 or send email to mdavis@kcstar.com.

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