AMC received a jolt of good news when independent business reporter Joe El Bruno broke a story this week that Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos is considering a move to acquire the exhibitor and its 600 theatres across the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. An acquisition of AMC would give Amazon a new platform it could use to promote its movies & television programs as well as expand its physical presence to leverage its traditional businesses such as grocery and distribution.
Amazon is among the five most valuable companies in the world, with over $1 trillion in market capitalization. Therefore, it has ample resources to swallow up AMC, whose stock is struggling and mired in concerns over its need to manage $6 billion in debt and an uncertain outlook in the age of streaming.
This possible acquisition is still highly speculative, with there being no direct knowledge that Amazon is preparing an offer. There’s also the matter of the Federal Trade Commission under Chair Lina Khan being highly resistant to Amazon and other tech giants expanding through acquisition. The market for acquisitions has slowed to its lowest level since 2013.
This may all will wind up having been a thought experiment that hit the daily news cycle momentarily. However, now that Paramount Consent Decrees have expired and studios are permitted to own and operate movie theatres, these new combinations across the industry are possible. If it does take place, Amazon’s ownership of the world’s largest movie theatre chain would alter the landscape of the exhibition fundamentally.