AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. extended its week-long selloff after the movie theater operator converted a raft of preferred shares into common stock, and strategists say the company will likely sell more shares to pay down debt.
(Bloomberg) — AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. extended its week-long selloff after the movie theater operator converted a raft of preferred shares into common stock, and strategists say the company will likely sell more shares to pay down debt.
On Friday, the company converted AMC Preferred Equity units, or APEs, into common shares, ending a lengthy battle after some common stockholders had tried to block the move. A day earlier, the company completed a 10-to-1 reverse stock split.
Those two moves have left AMC with the ability to sell about 390 million of new common shares, according to company filings, worth about $5.4 billion at current prices. The potential for more equity sales has contributed to AMC shares declining this week, said Chris Colpitts, a strategist for event-driven situations at TD Cowen.
“AMC will likely do a large capital raise to improve its liquidity position,” Colpitts said. One way the company might raise money would be to sell shares at the market price over time, known as an at-the-money offering, he said.
The company’s shares dropped about two-thirds between Aug. 18 and Thursday, and fell about another 11% on Friday to $12.86, on a split-adjusted basis. A spokesperson for AMC wasn’t immediately available to comment.
A successful equity raise could help AMC pay down debt and stabilize its finances. The movie theater operator has about $9.5 billion of short- and long-term debt on its books, and although it eked out about $8.6 million of net income in the second quarter, before then it had posted losses every period going back to the third quarter of 2019.
“An equity raise will open up the potential for institutions to re-evaluate AMC as an investment,” Colpitts said.
Wedbush upgraded its rating of AMC to neutral from underperform, with a new price target at $19 this week.
The company is “well-positioned against an improved industry backdrop,” analysts including Alicia Reese wrote in a research note.
AMC became a favorite of retail investors during the pandemic, with its shares surging more than 2,800% between the end of 2020 and June 2, 2021, even as many consumers avoided cinemas. More recently, its shares oscillated wildly as traders bet on the likelihood of the APE conversion happening.
Read: AMC-APE Bet Looks Like Easy Money, But It’s Perilous for Traders
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