Regal Parent Cineworld Expects Bids For Theaters Outside U.S./UK, Says Plan To Exit Chapter 11 Nearly Ready

Business

An attorney for bankrupt movie theater chain Cineworld said today it has “several” interested parties eyeing its business in “rest of world” — meaning Europe outside the UK, and Israel — but nothing pending for the entire company, or, it seems for Regal in the U.S.

Final bids are due April 10, said Joshua Sussberg of Kirland Ellis. Two strategic suitors were potentially interested in the full company but the offers were too lowball to consider moving forward with. Meanwhile, a comprehensive restructuring plan is close to being ready, he said, as Regal, its lenders and unsecured creditors are “dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.”

Sussberg said he hoped a plan might be filed as soon as tomorrow. A rep for the lenders agreed the sides are close, but noted that these “are important i’s to dot and t’s to cross.”

Cineworld filed for bankruptcy last fall in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas. Judge Marvin Isgur said today he’s sticking with an April 20 date to go over the plan and set May 26 as a confirmation date. Debtors would end up owning 100% of the publicly trading company, which last week as required by UK securities law, set a meeting for beleaguered shareholders outside London, also on April 20.

Bankruptcy has allowed Regal to shutter theaters and renegotiate leases with landlords. Sussberg, as in previous hearings, stressed a recent string of hits at a recovering box office, albeit entering a bit of a slower period until May. He also cited reports that Apple will spend $1 billion annually on theatrical releases.

The hearing comes amid speculation about another theater deal after a report that Amazon may be looking at buying AMC Entertainment, boosting AMC stock.

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