The Globe and Mail reports in its Tuesday, Dec. 17, edition that Cineplex has agreed to be acquired by U.K.-based movie-theatre owner Cineworld Group. The Globe's Susan Krashinsky Robertson writes that the proposed deal, announced early Monday morning, is worth $2.8-billion in cash and assumption of net debt. Cineworld has offered $34 per share for the company's outstanding common shares. At the market close on Friday, Cineplex stock was trading at $24.01. Cineworld's offer represents a 39-per-cent premium on the average share price in the 30 days leading up to Dec. 13. The deal is subject to approval by shareholders of both companies and is expected to close in the first half of 2020.
The agreement provides for a seven-week "go-shop period," expiring Feb. 2, 2020, which allows Cineplex to entertain other offers. Cineworld's ownership could significantly change the way people pay for movie tickets in Canada. It is planning to launch a subscription service that charges a flat monthly fee for unlimited movie tickets within about six months of the deal closing. Its Regal chain launched the service, called Unlimited, in the United States in July. Cineworld subscribers attend more often than those outside the service.
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