After the news that Cineworld may be looking at filing for bankruptcy as far as its US operations are concerned, we’re learning that investors have begun leaving the company. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise. However, it does spell very bad news for Cineworld’s hopes for being able to stay afloat in the UK and European markets. One of their investors, Polaris Capital Management, which is based in the US, has offloaded its 3.5% stake in the company.
This comes after the company had already reduced its stake in Cineworld from 7.8% to 4.7% the week before. The shares in Cineworld have now dropped by over 85% since the news hit the markets early on Monday. The company is striving to restructure its debt in order to survive, but it appears any coming solution will most likely involve new ownership by creditors/equity partners, and current shareholders will be wiped out.
Arguments can be made that Cineworld’s leadership should have foreseen the coming dangers of 2022. However, the company’s slate was never strong, and 2023 isn’t looking too strong for them either. So, it’s looking very, very bad for Cineworld and its survival is looking quite unlikely at this point in time.
How will Cineworld get out of this mess?
It was estimated that as early as March 2020, audiences would take a few years or more before they end up returning to watch movies in the cinemas. It would take a long time for audience numbers to return anywhere near to 2018/2019 records (biggest on record for the UK) after the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, we have seen some movies get audiences back into cinemas. The likes of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness and Top Gun: Maverick all performed very well at the box office. Their performances were especially impressive given the fact that we are still coming out of a pandemic.
It’s not all doom and gloom
However, there does appear to be a silver lining (despite poor local media reports to the contrary). We’ve learnt that none of Cineworld’s UK sites are facing any closures. However, we may see the company’s US arm, Regal, sold or dropped from ownership.
And Cineworld will continue to strive to get back to where it was pre-2015: a medium size successful operator in the UK and Europe. It does look like the company’s US venture has ended, which is sad, but also kind of expected.
What do you make of the news? Have you visited Cineworld this week? When was the last time you went to watch a movie at the cinema? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.
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