Leading cinema chain AMC is raising $230.5 million to purchase additional cinema leases and grow the consumer appeal of its existing properties.
AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. revealed on Tuesday that it is raising the funds through the sale of equity to Mudrick Capital Management, L.P. in exchange for 8.5 million shares of AMC’s Class A Common stock. The equity was raised at a price of approximately $27.12 per share. The cinema giant will also continue exploring deleveraging opportunities with the cash in hand.
AMC CEO and president Adam Aron has also said the exhibitor is eyeing theaters previously operated by Arclight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres.
“Given our scale, experience and commitment to innovation and excellence, AMC is being presented with highly attractive theater acquisition opportunities,” said Aron. “We are in discussions, for example, with multiple landlords of superb theaters formerly operated by Arclight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres. With this agreement with Mudrick Capital, we have raised funds that will allow us to be aggressive in going after the most valuable theater assets, as well as to make other strategic investments in our business and to pursue deleveraging opportunities.”
In April, the closure announcement of Arclight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres sent shockwaves across Hollywood. The closure meant that some of the most prominent and popular movie theaters in the heart of the film industry would be shuttered, including the iconic Cinerama Dome, which has hosted movie premieres and had cameos in everything from “Melrose Place” to “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
“Given that AMC is raising hundreds of millions of dollars, this is an extremely positive result for our shareholders,” Aron added. “It was achieved through the issuance of only 8.5 million shares, representing less than 1.7 percent of our issued share capital and only a small portion of our typical daily trading volume. This transaction underscores the real value of having some authorized share capital available for us to opportunistically capitalize on shareholder value creation possibilities as and when they arise.”
“With our increased liquidity, an increasingly vaccinated population and the imminent release of blockbuster new movie titles, it is time for AMC to go on the offense again,” the executive concluded.
AMC is the world’s largest movie exhibition company with approximately 10,500 screens across the globe. China’s Wanda used to have a controlling stake in the business but recently divested its entire stake for $426 million.
Google’s Shares Surge Over 5% as AI Model Gemini Challenges Industry Norms
Project Gemini Set to Propel Google into Intense AI Competition
Google shares experienced a 5% boost on Thursday following the announcement of the company’s latest artificial intelligence model, Gemini.
The surge marks the most favorable day for Google’s stock since August 29, positioning the tech giant to compete fiercely with AI models from industry heavyweights OpenAI, Microsoft, and Meta.
Project Gemini, unveiled on Wednesday, represents Google’s leap into the realm of advanced artificial intelligence.
The model, designed to emulate human-like behavior, is expected to fuel discussions about the potential benefits and risks associated with this cutting-edge technology.
While Google chose not to disclose Gemini’s parameter count, a key measure of model complexity, a white paper published on December 6 highlighted the superior performance of Gemini’s most capable version over GPT-4 in assessments like multiple-choice exams and grade-school math.
Despite this success, Google acknowledged the ongoing challenges in enabling AI models to attain higher-level reasoning skills.
Analysts from Wells Fargo’s trading desk noted that Gemini’s announcement should dispel concerns about Google’s position in AI, causing a positive response in the market.
However, questions lingered about Google’s monetization strategy for Gemini, emphasizing the need for the tech giant to prove its sustained relevance.
JPMorgan analysts expressed encouragement for Google’s strides in this significant technological shift but anticipate potential pushback due to uncertainties around Gemini’s monetization path in Search.
As Gemini enters the arena, the AI competition, marked by escalating rivalries with OpenAI and Microsoft, is set to intensify.
Nigerian Exchange Sustains Bullish Momentum, Adds N305bn to Investors’ Wealth
The Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) continued its bullish run on Wednesday as investors gained N305 billion.
The Exchange has now gained N471 billion in the last two trading sessions following a N259 billion decline recorded on Monday due to the plunge in the value of some medium-cap stocks.
At the close of trading on Wednesday, the All-Share Index and market capitalization rose by 0.78% to 71,808.64 and N39.294 trillion, respectively.
The year-to-date gains of the index rose to 40.11%.
A total of 34 stocks closed in the green against 22 that closed in the red as a total of 121 stocks exchanged hands during the day.
This positive momentum was primarily driven by share price appreciation from top gainers, including Thomas Wyatt (9.93%), FBN Holdings (9.91%), Multiverse (9.90%), Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (9.88%), and Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank (9.70%).
However, some stocks experienced losses, including Axa Mansard Insurance, Guinea Insurance, and Oando Plc, with share dips of 9.69%, 9.68%, and 9.13%, respectively.
Sectorial performances varied with NGX Insurance, NGX Consumer Goods, and NGX Industrial Goods indices recording losses, while the Oil/Gas sector reported a lull performance.
Notably, tier I banking stocks fueled the Banking sector to a substantial 5.01% gain, with GTCO, United Bank for Africa, AccessCorp, and Zenith Bank leading in volume and value, contributing to the overall market bullishness.
Positive trading activity continued, with a 19.90% increase in total deals, 59.15% rise in volume, and an 8.88% uptick in value, totaling 8,412 deals, 690.01 million units, valued at N12.10 billion.
GTCO emerged as the most actively traded security in terms of volume and value, with 76.70 million units worth N3.04 billion exchanged in 260 deals.
Global Markets Face Headwinds as European Equities Drop Amid Economic Concerns
European equity experienced a decline following losses in Asian shares, the pressure created by weak oil prices and growing apprehensions about China’s economic outlook.
The Euro Stoxx 50 contract fell by 0.5%, mirroring a broader trend of cautiousness in the markets.
The drop in Asian stocks from Hong Kong to mainland China and Australia followed a third consecutive daily decline for the S&P 500 and contributed to a general atmosphere of market uncertainty.
Treasury yields rose after a previous drop, with the 10-year note experiencing its lowest levels since August.
The shift in sentiment was evident in a seven-basis-point jump, in tandem with a selloff in Japanese sovereign debt.
Energy producers faced declines due to oil reaching its lowest point since June amid oversupply concerns.
Also, Moody’s Investors Service’s downgrade of its outlook on several Chinese companies, coupled with worries about the nation’s debt burden, contributed to equity weakness.
A surprise contraction in China’s imports in November further fueled concerns about the economic slowdown.
Investors are now eyeing Friday’s US jobs report following private payrolls data that fell short of estimates, indicating potential softening in the employment market.
Meanwhile, oil stabilized after a five-day losing streak, and focus is on the upcoming OPEC+ production plans.
The dollar remained relatively steady against major currencies, and as markets await the Federal Reserve’s meeting next week, there is anticipation regarding potential shifts in market expectations based on quarterly forecasts.
In corporate news, Apple Inc. is preparing for new models and upgrades, aiming to reverse declining sales, while Advanced Micro Devices Inc. targets the artificial intelligence market dominated by Nvidia Corp.
Gold extended gains and bitcoin traded below $44,000, a level not seen since June last year.
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