AMC Entertainment Holdings, North America's second-largest movie theater chain, will soon be acquired by a Chinese real estate and entertainment conglomerate. The Dalian Wanda Group Co., which owns hotels, department stores, and theaters, announced that it would buy AMC (not to be confused with the separate Mad Men network) for $2.6 billion, making it the biggest-ever Chinese purchase of an American company. For comparison, Lenovo was able to buy IBM's PC business for $1.75 billion in 2004.
For AMC, the buyout is a windfall. The company has been losing money for three years, although its CEO says strong ticket sales made it profitable this year, and Wanda's payment will let it pay off debts and renovate its theaters with IMAX and 3D technology. Wanda, meanwhile, seems mostly to be interested in buying foreign companies in areas it's familiar with, although it says it has "absolute confidence in the future of" AMC. That's a strong statement in an industry that's often seen as lagging or downright obsolete.