Cineplex Odeon Corp., North America's second-largest movie theater company, formally went on the auction block Thursday with the announcement that financial data has been assembled for interested bidders.
The action--initiated by a special committee of Cineplex directors--is the upshot of a fierce battle for control waged two months ago by Cineplex's co-founder and chairman, Garth H. Drabinsky. The auction appears certain to be a hot topic at Cineplex's twice-postponed shareholder meeting, now set for June 30 in Toronto.
Drabinsky made an unsuccessful attempt this spring to circumvent his largest shareholder, MCA Inc., by making a deal to buy out a stake held by the Bronfman family of Canada. Had he succeeded, Drabinsky and his associates effectively would have gained control of the company without making a similar offer to other shareholders.
The Drabinsky move was bitterly opposed by MCA, however, and failed to win Canadian regulators' approval. By the end of April, the Bronfmans joined with MCA to set up the independent committee of directors to find a way to maximize shareholder values. MCA and the Bronfmans together own 65% of the company's equity.