Regal parent Cineworld has officially emerged from bankruptcy, unveiling five new board members and a strengthened balance sheet. The chain, which was flattened by Covid and high debt, filed for Chapter 11 in the Southern District of Texas last September.
It exits today having reduced that debt by about $4.53 billion and raised $800 million in new equity capital. The restructuring also saw it secure new debt financing of $1.71 billion, including a new $250- million revolving credit facility. “With this strengthened and recapitalized balance sheet, the Group is well-positioned to pursue future strategic initiatives and continue providing leading cinematic experiences for customers globally,” the company said in a statement.
As previously announced, Eduardo Acuna, former president of Cinépolis Americas and Cinépolis Do Brazil, is stepping in to replace Mooky Greidinger as chief executive Eric Foss, former CEO of Pepsi Bottling Group and Aramark, is chairman of the board.
They’re joined by additional new directors, appointed as of today, including Ann Sarnoff, the former chair and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios & Networks Group., whose “entertainment experience and industry relationships will prove invaluable for New Cineworld as the Group deepens its relationships with studios and content suppliers,” the company said. “Sarnoff also brings a honed sense of how to engage and delight global audiences.”
The other board members are Patrick J. Bartels, managing member of Redan Advisors; Stephen Joyce, former CEO of Dine Brands Global, the franchisor of IHOP and Applebee’s, as well as a former executive at Marriott International; Stefano Malfitano, a principal at Cyrus Capital Partners; and Blythe J. McGarvie, former CEO of LIF Group and former CFO of Hannaford Bros., a Fortune 500 company.
Acuna said he is “honored to join Cineworld and work alongside the experienced management team to unlock the company’s great potential. With its talented group of employees, significant number of distinguished business partners and devoted customers around the world, Cineworld has what it needs to reach new levels of success. We will continue to put our guests at the center of everything we do and look forward to continuing to break new ground in our industry.”
Foss called Cineworld’s brands – including Regal, Cinema City, Picturehouse, and Planet – “some of the most iconic in our industry. We are excited and energized by the bright future ahead of us.”
Cineworld, which had been traded on the London Stock Exchange, saw its share delisted Shareholders, who are always last in line to get paid back in a bankruptcy proceeding, were wiped out.
The news this evening follows an announcement earlier today that Cineworld Group plc has officially entered administration, following an application at the High Court in London. The administration order applies only to Cineworld Group and not to any of its operating companies or subsidiaries such as Regal Cinemas in the U.S. or Picturehouse Cinemas in the UK.
Cineworld officially will cease trading on the London Stock Exchange at 8 a.m. BST Tuesday.
Cineworld had filed its initial plan of reorganization in April and said it expected to emerge from bankruptcy in July. It’s doing so at another critical moment in the entertainment industry as a strike by writers and actors has shut down and delyed big productions and already caused some shifts in the release schedule out of the fourth quarter.