WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – The Department of Justice announced that AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. will divest movie theaters in Connecticut and New Jersey to complete its $172 million acquisition of SMH Theatres Inc. (Starplex Cinemas).
The two parties reached an agreement after the Antitrust Division and the State of Connecticut filed a civil antitrust lawsuit. Connecticut’s attorney general then filed a proposed settlement that would resolve allegations of competitive concerns.
“Consumers have benefited from the competition on price and on quality of the viewing experience between AMC’s and Starplex Cinemas’ theaters in Berlin, Connecticut, and East Windsor, New Jersey,” Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division said. “The divestiture of two theaters in those areas ensures that movie theater competition is preserved.”
AMC and Starplex had battled for viewership in Berlin, Connecticut and East Windsor, New Jersey. Due to the acquisition, fears arose that a reduction in competition would also reduce the price competition and overall quality of the movie experience. Under the proposed settlement, the two divested movie theaters should help keep competition in those areas strong.
AMC is a Delaware-based corporation that operates 349 theaters, showing films on a total of 4,975 screens. The Dallas-based Starplex Cinemas owns 33 movie theaters, showing films on a total 346 screens in 12 states.