Wanda America Entertainment (WAE), the U.S.-based division of China’s Wanda Group, sold 15.6 million shares of AMC Theatre stock for around $220 million amid a stock surge in social news aggregator Reddit, according to a Friday SEC filing.
WAE revealed in the filing that the sale brings its stake in the cinema chain down from 9.8% to 6.8%
In March, Chinese conglomerate Wanda said in an SEC filing that it had given up its majority stake in the theater chain AMC Entertainment, operating as AMC Theatres, bringing their ownership down to 9.8%. It had cut 23% of the company’s outstanding common stock and 47.3% of the combined voting power back on Dec. 31.
Wanda had previously acquired the majority stake in AMC Theatres in 2021 for $2.6 billion, the then-largest international acquisition by a privately owned Chinese company. In 2018, Wanda had cut some of its stake in AMC after a deal with private equity firm Silver Lake, but maintained control of AMC through a dual share structure.
WAE’s Friday filing said the company had sold the 15.6 million shares of AMC Theatres via three tranches. After converting Wanda’s class B common stock to class a common stock on Feb. 1, WAE sold 2.06 million class A shares on that day at an average price of $14.59 per share.
AMC Theatres stock had rocketed 180% higher in late January, in part because of investors from a popular Reddit forum seizing the opportunity to invest in the stock.
AMC Theatres began reopening in late March in Los Angeles at limited capacity. AMC was able to reopen its theaters in New York City on March 5. Most L.A. theaters are expected to be re-opened in time for the summer blockbuster season, which includes film such as “Black Widow,” “F9” and “Top Gun: Maverick.” AMC Theatres lost $$4.6 billion in 2020 due to pandemic closures.