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AMC again halts plans for stock offering

The IPO faced bleak prospects even before the current meltdown.

November 01, 2008|Richard Verrier | Verrier is a Times staff writer.

Amid the tightening credit market, theater operator AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. has pulled the plug on its planned initial public offering.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based company, whose lead investors include JP Morgan Partners and Apollo Management, said Friday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was withdrawing its $500-million stock offering. Speculation that the company's IPO would be a tough sell has been circulating for nearly a year, even before the financial crisis hit, as attendance at movie theaters has stopped growing amid competition from online entertainment.

The privately held firm did not specify its reasons in the filing, but a company official cited the market volatility that has rocked Wall Street.

"In light of current market conditions, the company's board of directors determined it was best to suspend the initial public offering," AMC spokeswoman Melanie Bell said.

AMC originally filed a $750-million IPO in December 2006, as private equity firms looked to recoup some of their heavy investments in theaters. The company withdrew that offering in May 2007 after investors balked at the $17-a-share asking price. AMC announced plans for a scaled-back stock offering in September 2007.

The market for entertainment IPOs was bleak even before the recent meltdown on Wall Street. Venice-based visual effects company Digital Domain pulled its IPO plans after drawing a tepid response from investors in April.

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richard.verrier@latimes.com

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