British theater chain operator Cineworld in talks to buy Regal Entertainment for $3.6 bn

British operator of movie theaters Cineworld Group Plc yesterday said that it is in talks to buy its US peer Regal Entertainment Group for around $3.6 billion in cash.

Regal Entertainment said that Cineworld's all-cash offer values it at $23 per share, but no agreement has been reached and there is no assurance that any transaction will result.

Regal Entertainment share price closed yesterday at $19.63 giving it a market cap of $3.08 billion.

Tennessee-based Regal Entertainment is the second-biggest cinema chain in the US after AMC Entertainment Holdings owned by Chinese real estate giant Dalian Wanda Group.

Regal Entertainment operates 7,315 screens in 561 theatres in 43 states along with Guam, Saipan, American Samoa and the District of Columbia.

The company operates theatres in 48 of the top 50 US designated market areas and has an annual turnover of $2.82 billion.

Cineworld Group was founded in 1995 and is now one of the leading cinema groups in Europe.

Originally a private company, it re-registered as a public company in 2006 and listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2007.

The London-based company is the second largest cinema operator in Europe with 2,115 screens across 226 sites in 9 countries.

The UK operations consist of arthouse chain Picturehouse Cinemas and multiplex chain Cineworld Cinemas with 24 and 82 cinemas respectively.

Cineworld is the second-largest cinema operator in the UK with over 800 screens, and the owner of the single largest multiplex by screens and customer base in Ireland.

A merger would allow Cineworld Group to better compete with AMC Entertainment, which is the world's largest theater operator.