AMC in talks to sell to Chinese firm

Stacey Vanek Smith: AMC Entertainment -- the second biggest theater chain in the country -- is in talks to sell all or part of itself to the Chinese-owned Wanda Group. That's according to The New York Times this morning. AMC is thought to be worth around $1.5 billion. Here to talk about this deal with us is Porter Bibb with Media Tech Capital Partners in New York. Good morning, Porter.

Porter Bibb: Good morning.

Vanek Smith: So Porter, what impact might this AMC deal have on movie ticket prices in the U.S.?

Bibb: I doubt if it's going to have any material impact on movie prices. What it's doing for AMC's investors is bailing them out of a slowly sinking ship. Movie attendance across the board has been declining. The are too many screens in the U.S. and it's a very, very mature industry that will probably only see further continued decline.

Vanek Smith: So who is the real winner in this deal?

Bibb: The real winner is Wanda, the Chinese company. They are a conglomerate in luxury real estate, but most importantly in movie theater ownership and film production and distribution in China. This gives them a significant leading block of U.S. theaters, very close relationships with the major movie studios that will be their clients and vendors. It's good for U.S. studios too because it gives them a very close relationship with a major Chinese distributor, in the biggest, fastest-growing movie theater market in the world.

Vanek Smith: Would this deal potentially change the access that Chinese movies have to the American market?

Bibb: Absolutely. You should see some of the Wanda-produced major Chinese blockbusters getting distribution in leading theaters. Now AMC is not the largest chain in the U.S., but it has the best locations and it generates the highest aggregate revenue of any theater chain and that's going to be all good for Chinese film producers.

Vanek Smith: Porter Bibb is a managing partner at Media Tech Capital Partners. Porter, thank you.

Bibb: It's a pleasure Stacey, thank you.

About the author

Stacey Vanek Smith is a senior reporter for Marketplace, where she covers banking, consumer finance, housing and advertising.

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