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DOJ conditionally approves AMC-Carmike deal

The U.S. Department of Justice conditionally approved AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.'s proposed acquisition of Carmike Cinemas Inc.

After clearing the final regulatory hurdle, AMC said Dec. 20 that it expects to complete the transaction "expeditiously." AMC agreed to buy Carmike for $30 per share, later revising the offer to $33.06 per share.

While approving the deal, the DOJ said that AMC will have to sell theaters in 15 local markets, divest most of its holdings and relinquish all of its governance rights in National CineMedia LLC, and transfer 24 theaters with a total of 384 screens to the network of Screenvision LLC. The divestitures are expected to help address concerns about "weakened competition" in the markets for preshow services and theater advertising, the DOJ said.

The proposed DOJ settlement also requires AMC to establish firewalls to ensure that it does not obtain NCM's, Screenvision's, or other movie exhibitors' competitively sensitive information or become a conduit for the flow of such information between NCM and Screenvision.

Earlier this month, AMC said it expected the pending $1.2 billion deal to close March 6, 2017. AMC recently completed the acquisition of London-based Odeon & UCI Cinemas Holdings Ltd.