Cineplex Inc. has received approval from investors to be sold to Britain-based cinema conglomerate Cineworld Group PLC.
The $2.2-billion deal was first announced in December, and was followed by a seven-week “go-shop” period that allowed Cineplex to evaluate other offers. The Toronto-based cinema chain announced last week that no other potential buyers had come forward with a better bid.
At a meeting held on Tuesday, 99.92 per cent of Cineplex shares that were represented either in person or by proxy voted in favour of the deal, in which Cineworld has offered $34 a share. Cineworld also held a shareholder vote on Tuesday, and secured 99.59-per-cent support, with approximately 84.46 per cent of Cineworld’s issued share capital represented in the vote. (Cineplex declined to specify the percentage of shares represented at its meeting, although it was a majority.)
With the acquisition of Canada’s largest movie-theatre chain, Cineworld would have the largest movie-theatre chain in North America. In 2018, the Britain-based company bought Regal Entertainment Group for US$3.6-billion. Cineworld’s leaders believe its size will help it to compete in an entertainment environment that has become more fragmented, as digital upstarts and established TV and movie studios alike have launched streaming services that allow people to access content on demand.
“Scale matters in this business,” Cineworld chief executive Mooky Greidinger said in December.
The deal still requires regulatory approval from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, according to Cineplex. The company expects the deal to close in the first half of this year.
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