Cineworld has not received any all-cash offers to buy the business, even as the the group confirmed that is has received non-binding proposals from a “number of potential transaction counterparties” for its business. The news led to a drop in the share price of the company and speculative headlines in UK papers that its cinemas could be facing closures.
Cineworld also confirmed that it had not received bids for its businesses in the UK (Cineworld and Picturehouse) or US (Regal). Cineworld’s preference would be for the whole international business to be sold as one and revealed that it had received “some strategic interest” in this from potential buyers. However, the bids that had been submitted had been primarily for Cineworld cinemas in central Europe, eastern Europe and Israel.
“The company is reviewing such proposals in conjunction with its advisers and key stakeholders,” the cinema operator said on Friday. “Based on the proposals received to date, it is not expected that any sale transaction will provide any recovery for the holders of the company’s equity interests.”
Earlier this month it emerged that London-headquartered Vue International, Europe’s largest privately held cinema chain, had secured backing from its financial backers to submit a bid.The Guardian
Analysts are speculating that a break-up of Cineworld’s assets could be likely, even though this is not the operator’s preferred outcome. Yet there are few options left for the international major, with a deadline for final bids coming up on 10 April, with an auction, if necessary, to follow on 17 April. “Cineworld has paid the price for being too aggressive with its growth ambitions, weighed down by significant debt when the pandemic struck and the subsequent reopening of the cinema industry being too weak to repair its finances,” commented Russ Mould, the investment director at the analysts AJ Bell.