AMC’s blockbuster Norway deal pushes screen total to 11,000 worldwide

AMC Entertainment adds theaters in Norway, Finland, Sweden and other nations with its $929 million purchase.
AMC Entertainment adds theaters in Norway, Finland, Sweden and other nations with its $929 million purchase.

Leawood-based AMC Entertainment Holdings on Monday announced another blockbuster buyout, adding Norway’s No. 2 cinema and pushing its own screens total to 11,000 worldwide.

AMC is spending $929 million to acquire Nordic Cinema Group Holding AB from a European private equity firm called Bridgepoint and the Swedish media group Bonnier Holding.

Nordic Cinema operates 68 theaters with 463 screens in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as Denmark. Construction of a new theater in Norway will make it the largest operator in that nation, the companies said. It also has an ownership stake in 50 additional theaters.

The sale requires a review by the European Commission on antitrust matters, but the companies expect to complete the deal by mid-year. Nordic Group’s revenues totaled $375 million in the 12 months that ended in September 2016.

Revenues at AMC totaled $779.8 million in just three months that ended Sept. 30, before its acquisition of Carmike Cinemas in the United States and Odeon & UCI in Europe.

Adam Aron, AMC’s chief executive, called the Nordic Group “extremely well-run with a modern up-to-date theater circuit,” in the company’s announcement.

Nordic Group will become part of AMC’s recently purchased Odeon Cinema Group. Nordic’s management team, led by CEO Jan Bernhardsson, will remain in place, and some members “may pick up increased pan-European responsibilities,” the announcement said.

Combining the companies’ operations is expected to save $5 million a year in costs, though the announcement did not indicate the source of the savings. AMC recently boosted employment in Leawood to accommodate its purchase of Carmike.

The merger plans do not include introducing either the AMC brand or the Odeon brand in the Nordic Group’s markets, where it operates under separate brands.

AMC is principally owned by China-based Dalian Wanda Group though some shares trade publicly. AMC shares were down 20 cents at $34.10 in morning trading Monday.

Mark Davis: 816-234-4372, @mdkcstar