AMC Entertainment’s “Apes” are swinging on Wall Street. “Apes” is the nickname of the movie theater chain’s most passionate retail investors and also the ticker symbol of the company’s preferred equity units.
Those units began trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.
The world’s largest cinema operator issued APEs earlier this month in the form of a special dividend to existing shareholders.
Each AMC Preferred Equity Unit is designed to have the same economic and voting rights as one share of common stock. They can be converted into stock only if AMC and its investors vote to approve an increase in the number of authorized shares.
AMC estimated it would issue 516.8 million APE units based on the number of outstanding shares.
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The company issued APE units to reward its retail Ape investors who saved the company from possible bankruptcy when AMC shut down during the coronavirus pandemic. The Apes took to the WallStreetBets subreddit to pump up shares.
Shares fell as low as $1.98 on Jan. 5, 2021, before peaking at $62.55 on June 2.
AMC still faces significant challenges. As of June 30, assets totaled $9.8 billion compared to liabilities of $12.1 billion.
British rival Cineworld, the owner of Regal Cinemas and other properties, warned that it could file for bankruptcy due to a limited film slate that is expected to continue until November.
AMC CEO Adam Aron agreed the third-quarter release schedule is expected to be “relatively weak,” but said: “we continue to be quite optimistic about the increasing demand for our portfolio of movie theaters in the fourth quarter of 2022 and calendar year 2023.”
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The fourth quarter includes Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” in November and DC’s “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” director James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” and Dreamworks’ “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.”
AMC ended the second quarter with more than $1 billion of liquidity.
“Our new AMC Preferred Equity security, which begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday August 22, 2022, should also make us a much stronger company.”
AMC reported $1.17 billion of second-quarter revenue compared with $444.7 million in the prior year’s quarter. The net loss narrowed to $121.6 million from $343.6 million.
Worldwide attendance was 59 million patrons compared to 22 million in the second quarter of 2021.