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Regal-Owner Cineworld Mulls Major Restructuring Options Post-Bankruptcy

Regal-Owner Cineworld Mulls Major Restructuring Options Post-Bankruptcy

Regal Entertainment Group-owner Cineworld looks poised to close around a quarter of its theaters in the UK as part of a post-bankruptcy restructuring plan.

“We continue to review our options but we don’t comment on rumors and speculation,” a Cineworld spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement. The company responded to a report in the UK by Sky News that the movie theater operator was looking to shutter around 25 of its British theaters, and renegotiate rent costs with landlords at another 50 locations.

Cineworld has in all about 100 theatrical locations in the UK and its looking to put its restructuring plans to creditors in that country in the near future. The multiplex operator is weighing its options after a trio of shocks — theater shutdowns during the pandemic, entering and then exiting Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and more recently the impact of the dual strikes on its supply of tentpole movies from key studio suppliers.

The British-based company saw its share price crater at the height of the pandemic and under the weight of a $5 billion debt load, which prompted the U.S. corporate restructuring. The second-biggest movie cinema chain behind AMC Theatres has drawn well back from its pandemic-era cliff, having greatly  lightened its debt load as it attempts to ride Hollywood’s box office recovery. 

The Sky News report said that if landlords don’t cut rent costs on around 50 theaters to shore up Cineworld’s balance sheet in the UK, then additional theater closures would be an additional option.

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For its UK restructuring, Cineworld has turned to Alix Partners, which advised the company during its U.S. pandemic-era corporate overhaul. That process included securing rent reducations for Regal multiplex locations, shutting down loss-making locations and eventually navigating Chapter 11 proceedings across the Atlantic.

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