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Will Amazon Or Netflix Buy A Movie Theater Chain?

June 26, 2020 6:29 pm
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Will Amazon Or Netflix Buy A Movie Theater Chain?

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE:AMC) has experienced major volatility in recent weeks on rumors that Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is potentially interested in a buyout of the popular movie theater chain.

On Friday, BofA Securities analyst Nat Schindler said a theater buyout actually makes sense — and Amazon may not be the only tech company interested.

Schindler said Amazon and even Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) may be looking to take advantage of depressed theater valuations to follow the omnichannel blueprint of Amazon’s buyout of grocery store chain Whole Foods.

While streaming video has been a major disruptor for movie theaters, there are still more than 1 billion box office tickets sold per year in the U.S. and Canadian markets, and the average moviegoer attends more than four screenings per year.

3 Reasons A Deal Makes Sense

Schindler said there are three reasons why Amazon and Netflix may be taking a closer look at movie theaters.

First, Amazon and Netflix are now both producing original movies at scale. For example, Netflix produced about 60 movies in 2019. Second, the COVID-19 outbreak has movie theater stocks trading at distressed valuations. Finally, the potential bundling of movie theater access to a streaming service subscription could differentiate one streaming service as the number of competing services continues to rise.

Despite the potential advantages, Schindler said a theater buyout is simply possible rather than probable at this point.

“We see risk, with the acquisition of even a mid-sized chain likely needing to drive 3mn+ incremental subs to generate positive ROI, on our estimates.”

Benzinga’s Take

If movie theaters were ever a part of the plan for either Netflix or Amazon, now is the time to act with theater valuations in the gutter.

In addition to AMC, which has a $441.2-million market cap, other theater stocks that could be potential buyout targets include Cineworld Group plc (OTC:CNNWF), Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CNK) and Cineplex Inc (OTC:CPXGF).

Do you agree with this take? Email feedback@benzinga.com with your thoughts.

Related Links:

AMC Entertainment Made a Proposal to Some Debt Holders on Deal Terms

Too Good To Be True: The Rise And Fall Of MoviePass

Photo courtesy of Netflix.

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