(Reuters) – Britain’s Cineworld filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States, as the world’s second-largest cinema chain operator struggles to rein in its massive debt.
The Chapter 11 filing involves Cineworld’s U.S., UK and Jersey operations, covering the bulk of its business.
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.
Cineworld founded by Steve Wiener after he left his job as managing director of Warner Bros Europe
First multiplex opens in Stevenage, England
Private equity firm Blackstone buys Cineworld from consortium of investors including group’s management
Cineworld buys UGC’s cinema operations in Britain and Ireland, becoming the second largest cinema operator in the UK
Cineworld lists in London at 170 pence per share, valuing it at 241 million pounds ($285 million)
Blackstone lowers shareholding in Cineworld to 20%
Blackstone sells remaining stake in Cineworld for 205 pence per share
Cineworld buys independent movie theatre operator Picturehouse for 47.3 million pounds
Founder Wiener announces plans to step down after 18 years with Cineworld
Cineworld becomes second largest cinema chain in Europe after it buys Poland-based Cinema City International’s movie theatre business for 272 million pounds in cash. Cinema City holds 24.9% of Cineworld shares
Cineworld agrees to buy larger U.S. peer Regal Entertainment for $3.6 billion in cash, creating world’s second largest movie theatre operator
Acquisition of Regal completed
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
Cineworld’s then largest shareholder Global City Theatres sells almost a third of its stake on worries over prospects during the COVID-19 pandemic
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
Cineworld abandons deal to buy Cineplex, citing breaches in the merger agreement
Cineplex says it will sue Cineworld, seeking damages after Cineworld “wrongfully” scrapped deal; Cineworld plans counter-claim
Cineworld theatres reopen after virus-related restrictions start to ease
Cineworld closes UK and U.S. movie theatres again
Cineworld says UK reopening weekend topped expectations as animated comedy “Peter Rabbit 2” drew crowds after months of lockdown
Cineworld says it will pay $170 million to Regal shareholders, who were disgruntled with takeover price
Cineworld ordered to pay C$1.23 billion ($946.1 million) in damages to Cineplex
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
Aug. 22, 2022
Cineworld said it was considering options including a possible bankruptcy filing in the United States.
(SOURCES: Companies’ statements, Reuters reporting, other media reports)
($1 = 0.8462 pounds)
($1 = 1.3001 Canadian dollars)
(This story corrects date in last bullet to Aug. 22 from Sept. 7, adds day in paragraph 1).
(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong and Pushkala Aripaka and Sinchita Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)