From chasing deals to turning off screens: Cineworld on the brink

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Britain’s Cineworld said on Monday it was considering options including a possible bankruptcy filing in the United States as the world’s second-largest cinema chain operator by number of screens struggles with near term liquidity.

Here is a timeline of the company, which operates under the Cinema City, Picturehouse, Regal and Yes Planet brands, and its past and present struggles.

1995 Cineworld founded by Steve Wiener after he left his job as managing director of Warner Bros Europe July 1996

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First multiplex opens in Stevenage, England

October 2004

Private equity firm Blackstone buys Cineworld from consortium of investors including group’s management

December 2004

Cineworld buys UGC’s cinema operations in Britain and Ireland, becoming the second largest cinema operator in the UK

April 2007

Cineworld lists in London at 170 pence per share, valuing it at 241 million pounds ($285 million) 2009

Blackstone lowers shareholding in Cineworld to 20%

2010

Blackstone sells remaining stake in Cineworld for 205 pence per share

2012

Cineworld buys independent movie theater operator Picturehouse for 47.3 million pounds

November 2013

Founder Wiener announces plans to step down after 18 years with Cineworld

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January 2014

Cineworld becomes second largest cinema chain in Europe after it buys Poland-based Cinema City International’s movie theater business for 272 million pounds in cash. Cinema City holds 24.9% of Cineworld shares

December 2017

Cineworld agrees to buy larger U.S. peer Regal Entertainment for $3.6 billion in cash, creating world’s second largest movie theater operator

2018

Acquisition of Regal completed

December 2019 Cineworld announces plans to buy Canada’s Cineplex for $1.65 billion in cash, valuing Cineplex at $2.1 billion including debt. Deal involves Cineworld seeking $2.3 billion in loans

March 2020

Cineworld’s then largest shareholder Global City Theatres sells almost a third of its stake on worries over prospects during the COVID-19 pandemic April 2020

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Cineworld shuts all its 787 cinemas across 10 countries due to the pandemic, and starts talks with lenders for liquidity requirements

The Telegraph reports Cineworld lenders were exploring legal challenges to block takeover of Cineplex

June 2020

Cineworld abandons deal to buy Cineplex, citing breaches in the merger agreement

July 2020

Cineplex says it will sue Cineworld, seeking damages after Cineworld “wrongfully” scrapped deal; Cineworld plans counter-claim

Cineworld theaters reopen after virus-related restrictions start to ease

October 2020

Cineworld closes UK and U.S. movie theaters again

May 2021

Cineworld says UK reopening weekend topped expectations as animated comedy “Peter Rabbit 2” drew crowds after months of lockdown

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September 2021

Cineworld says it will pay $170 million to Regal shareholders, who were disgruntled with takeover price

December 2021

Cineworld ordered to pay C$1.23 billion ($946.1 million) in damages to Cineplex

February 2022

Cineworld reaches deal to delay payments to former Regal shareholders

Aug. 17, 2022

Cineworld warns a lack of big-budget movies was hitting admissions and would likely persist until November, potentially complicating efforts to cut debt that it warned could significantly dilute shareholder interests

Aug. 19, 2022

The Wall Street Journal reports Cineworld is preparing to file for bankruptcy

(SOURCES: Companies’ statements, Reuters reporting, other media reports) ($1 = 0.8462 pounds) ($1 = 1.3001 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong and Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Potter)

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