Millennium Leisure Park - North Greenwich - Odeon IMAX
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Nick Hill

Merger of Manchester cinemas to face investigation over competition concerns

Back in July it was announced that the parent company of Odeon and UCI cinemas, Odeon and UCI Cinemas Group, was to be purchased in a £921m deal by American operator AMC.

However, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has now found that the deal may give rise to competition concerns for cinemas in Manchester.

The CMA discovered that the AMC Great Northern and Odeon Printworks cinemas were close competitors, and the merger may result in higher ticket prices or reduced quality or service for cinemagoers in Manchester.

AMC completed the acquisition of Odeon and UCI Cinemas Holdings Ltd on 30th November 2016.

Prior to the merger, AMC operated only one cinema in the UK, a 16-screen multiplex in Manchester (the AMC Great Northern).

The CMA therefore only examined the impact of the merger on the supply of cinema exhibition services in Manchester.

In this area, Odeon operated several cinemas, including the Odeon Printworks, a 20-screen multiplex.

An investigation into the merger can be avoided in AMC can offer a remedy to address the competition concerns identified. The company has until 15 December 2016 to do so.

Sheldon Mills, CMA senior director of mergers and decision-maker in this case, said: “It is important that we ensure that cinemagoers in Manchester are protected against increased ticket prices or reduced quality or service as a result of this merger.

“Only effective competition between cinema operators can provide that assurance. So we hope that AMC will address our competition concerns.”

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