A Chinese conglomerate announced today it will buy major US cinema chain AMC for $2.6 billion in China's biggest takeover of an American company to date. Dalian Wanda Group Co. says its purchase will create the world's biggest movie theater operator. The Beijing-based company said it will invest an additional $500 million to fund AMC's development. "We support AMC becoming bigger, not only in the United States but in the global market," said Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin at a signing ceremony for the acquisition.
Wanda said AMC's American management will remain in place, the headquarters will stay in the Kansas City area, and staff numbers are not expected to be affected. Wang said Wanda has applied to China's government for a license to import movies, a right held now by two state-owned companies. But he said the AMC acquisition concerned only film exhibition, not production or distribution. "We have no plans to promote Chinese films in the United States," Wang said. "[AMC CEO Gerry] Lopez will decide what movies will be shown" in AMC theaters. Wanda's investment will allow AMC to speed up renovation of some cinemas and install more 3-D and IMAX technology, Lopez said. (Read more AMC stories.)