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Regal Theater Owner Cineworld Staves Off Bankruptcy With New Debt Deal

Regal movie theater owner Cineworld Group (OTC: CNNW.F) was able to stave off having to file for bankruptcy protection after negotiating $750 million in new liquidity that could see its creditors acquire 10% of the theater chain.

The cinema operator had been considering a bankruptcy filing as one possible outcome after movie studios delayed big-budget movie premieres until 2021. Cineworld reclosed all of its theaters in the U.S. and U.K. after the new James Bond movie, No Time to Die, was postponed until June 2021. In contrast, AMC Entertainment Holdings and Cinemark Holdings have vowed to muddle through the limited availability of films to show.

Theater with social distancing signs in the seats

Image source: Getty Images.

A heavy debt load

According to Variety, Cineworld agreed to issue over 153.5 million in equity warrants to lenders, which would give them a 9.99% stake in the theater operator if they were fully exercised. They will also have the right to appoint an observer to the board of directors.

Additionally, the company secured a new credit facility valued at $450 million and received waivers to extend its $111 million revolving credit line from next month to May 2024. Cineworld will now have aggregate gross debt financing totaling $4.9 billion at a weighted average interest rate of approximately 4.5%. It incurred much of the debt from its 2018 acquisition of Regal.

Reuters says the theater chain was also able to get key landlords to agree to long-term rent deferrals with some also agreeing to new lease terms.

Cineworld operates over 800 theaters around the globe, some 500 of which are located in the U.S. With its theaters closed, it has reduced its monthly operating expenses to $60 million.

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