Cineworld to close dozens of cinemas in bold restructuring plan

Cineworld is preparing to close approximately a quarter of its 100 British multiplexes as part of a sweeping restructuring initiative, which also involves negotiating significant rent cuts at 50 additional locations. The remaining 25 sites are expected to remain unaffected.

The multiplex giant, which was delisted from the London Stock Exchange last year, plans to formally present these proposals to creditors, including landlords, in the coming weeks. Sources indicate that the restructuring will likely utilise a restructuring plan rather than a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

A Cineworld spokesperson responded to inquiries stating, “We continue to review our options but we don’t comment on rumours and speculation.”

This development follows reports from Sky News last month, highlighting Cineworld’s initial discussions about a potential sale, which subsequently transitioned into a formal restructuring process. AlixPartners is advising the company through this process.

Should a sufficient number of landlords reject the proposed terms, other cinema operators are anticipated to take over some of Cineworld’s sites. Cineworld operates over 100 sites in Britain, including the Picturehouse chain, and employs thousands of people, although specific numbers remain unconfirmed.

Under the leadership of the Greidinger family, Cineworld expanded significantly, acquiring Regal in the US in 2018 and the British company of the same name four years earlier. However, the company faced a crisis due to its multibillion-dollar debt, leading to Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2022 and delisting from the London Stock Exchange last August as its share price plummeted.

A restructuring deal last year saw several billion dollars of debt exchanged for shares and new investments from a group of hedge funds and other investors. Since emerging from bankruptcy protection, Cineworld has appointed a new leadership team, with Eduardo Acuna, former head of Cinepolis’s operations in the Americas, as CEO and Eric Foss, a former Pepsi executive, as chairman.

Cineworld also operates in central and Eastern Europe, Israel, and the US. The restructuring comes as the UK box office anticipates major summer releases, including “Despicable Me 4,” “A Quiet Place: Part One,” and “Alien: Romulus.”

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