Originally Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2012, 5:33 pm
Last Updated: Nov. 29, 2012, 5:34 pm

Great Escape sells theaters to Regal

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By Jonathan Turner, jturner@qconline.com

The Great Escape Theaters in Moline have a new owner.

On Thursday, Tennessee-basedRegal Entertainment Group -- the nation's leading motion picture exhibitor -- announced it has completed the acquisition of Great Escape Theatres, including the 14-screen multiplex at 4100 38th St., Moline.

Regal acquired a total of 25 theaters, representing 301 screens, for $91 million in cash. The acquisition will enhance Regal's presence in Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, according to a company release.

"The acquisition of Great Escape Theatres and the special dividend of $1 per share clearly demonstrate Regal's commitment to delivering shareholder value," Amy Miles, Regal's CEO, said in the release. "We are extremely pleased with the addition of over 300 high quality screens to our industry-leading portfolio and expect the transaction to be immediately accretive to both earnings and cash flow."

Regal owns the largest and most geographically diverse theater chain in the United States. As of Oct. 25, it had 6,607 screens in 521 theaters in 37 states and the District of Columbia. More information is online at REGmovies.com.

The sale marks the second ownership change for Quad-Cities movie theaters this month.

About two weeks ago, Cinemark USA Inc. -- a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cinemark Holdings Inc. and the third-largest theater chain -- announced it is acquiring all of the assets of Rave Cinemas for approximately $240 million. The group includes 483 screens at 32 theaters in 12 states, including an 18-screen cineplex in Davenport.