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Workers repair a sign at a Cineworld cinema in Bradford northern England, on March 24, 2016.Phil Noble/Reuters

Cineworld said on Monday it planned to make a counterclaim against Cineplex Inc. after the Canadian cinema chain’s legal action against the British group for damages after it scrapped a US$1.65-billion takeover.

Cineplex said last week it was suing Cineworld for damages, including about US$2.18-billion that Cineworld would have paid on the closing of the deal.

The British company abandoned the takeover last month, citing what it termed the Canadian company’s breaches in the merger agreement.

Cineworld said on Monday it did not breach any obligations or duties, and said if Cineplex’s claim was successful, it would be limited to its costs and expenses incurred as part of the deal.

“Cineworld is entitled to recover from Cineplex all damages and losses that it has suffered as a result of Cineplex’s breaches and the acquisition not proceeding,” Cineworld said in a statement. “Cineworld intends to counterclaim against Cineplex for these damages and losses.”

Cineplex has denied these claims.

The deal was announced in December and would have made the British company North America’s biggest cinema operator.

“We expect the legal actions to take some time, but in the end, once the relative strength of each side’s legal position has been tested, we expect Cineworld to acquire Cineplex on revised terms,” Peel Hunt analysts said.

“Cineplex appeared unable to find another buyer prepared to make a superior offer when it had the chance to, pre-Covid-19, and seems unlikely to do so now,” the Peel Hunt analysts said.

Cineworld said last month it had secured a US$250-million debt facility from a group of investors as it was gearing up to reopen theaters after the easing of coronavirus-led lockdowns globally.

The Regal cinema owner operates about 9,500 screens globally, with more than 7,000 in the United States.

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