THE 20 AMC cinema screens at the Festsival Park complex in Marratxi, just outside Palma, may soon pass into the hands of the British investment company Terra Firma, which owns the Odeon Equity Co Ltd, the biggest cinema exhibitor in the United Kingdom. The AMC, which owns the cinemas, has opened negotiations with Terra Firma, who own Cinesa-Warner in Spain, to sell its four multiplexes in Spain, which includes the one in Festival Park. Before starting talks with Terra Firma, AMC had been engaged in talks with other distributers such as Yelmo, Cineplex, Kinépolis and Abaco.
AMC had announced its intention of selling all its European cinemas three months ago, comprising 148 screens (86 of them in Spain). In addition to the multiplex in Marratxi, it has one in Madrid with 24 screens and two in Barcelona with 42 screens. It also has two in the United Kingdom (Birmingham and Manchester with 12 and 16 screens respectively) and two complexes in Portugal and France.
However, it has decided to sell off its Spanish screens separately because of the difficulty of finding a single buyer for all the screens it has in Europe, all of which are in shopping centres, as is the case with the Festival Park. The Festival Park cinemas are among the most popular in Majorca, but they do not show many films in English. This could change if sold to Terra Firma, with its Odeon connections, which would make distribution easier. Terra Firma is a private equity investment company, which has invested 7.6 billion pounds since 1994.
In addition to Odeon, it also owns United Cinemas International (UK) Ltd and Cinema International Corporation (UK) Limited (collectively UCI) which operate multiplex cinemas in the UK. It is reported that the sale of the cinemas is part of the crisis caused by digital piracy, new formulas of digital distribution and a drop in the number of cinemagoers.