AMC Entertainment shares climbed as much as 9% on Thursday after CEO Adam Aron said it will not sell in 2021 any of the 500 million shares it’s asked investors to authorize.
The company’s shareholders will vote on May 4 on whether to approve AMC’s request to increase its number of shares outstanding, which Aron plans to deploy in the coming years.
“We hereby pledge at AMC that if the shareholders approve this authorization for 500 million new shares to be issued, we will not use one of those 500 million shares in calendar year 2021. Not one,” CEO Adam Aron said in an interview published Wednesday on a YouTube program called Trey’s Trades, hosted by an independent investor.
The movie-theater operator has been working to recover from the hit the business took from the COVID-19 pandemic. The chain recently started to reopen its theaters after they closed to help reduce the spread of the respiratory disease.
Aron said in the YouTube interview that AMC still has about 43 million shares outstanding that were authorized in 2013. The company could use those shares to raise cash in the short-term if needed but that no decisions have yet been made on that matter, he said.
Asking for authorization to issue 500 million shares is part of the company’s preparation for operations on a longer-term basis, Aron said.
“If you give us the flexibility to use those shares when it makes sense for you, the shareholder, that’s when we’ll use them and not before,” said Aron.
AMC stock has surged from about $2 at the start of this year in part during major short-squeeze rallies that were fueled by retail investors active on Reddit’s Wall Street Bets forum. Shares are up more than 365% year-to-date.
The company’s first theater was in Florida, where Campbell renovated an already existing theater with new carpets, concessions, and screens, more than doubling its size.
Regal theaters grew, especially in the suburbs, and were known to be relatively upscale compared to competitors, with cafes selling cappuccinos and cookies inside. By 1995, Regal was the ninth-largest movie theatre chain in the US.
In 2002, Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz became the majority owner in Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theaters, and Edwards Theaters, combining them all under the new parent corporation Regal Entertainment Group.
In 2008, Regal Entertainment acquired Consolidated Theatres, a movie chain with locations in mid-Atlantic states. The Department of Justice required Regal to divest some theaters in areas where it would otherwise have a monopoly.
Regal was one of many companies to downsize in 2011, laying off many managers and projectionists to better compete with Netflix and Redbox.
Theaters began reopening throughout the summer according to local regulations, with social distancing measures keeping attendance low.
Regal announced in October it would close all 536 US theaters and 127 UK theaters.
In the press release, CEO Mooky Greidinger cited the lack of blockbuster releases that could potentially sustain theaters. The previous week, MGM pushed back the release of the James Bond film “No Time to Die” from November until next April.
Spiking COVID-19 cases in New York City reintroduced stricter measures for indoor gatherings. “Despite our work, positive feedback from our customers, and the fact that there has been no evidence to date linking any COVID cases with cinemas, we have not been given a route to reopen in New York,” Greidinger said.
So you’ve received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine. Does life change a little – or a lot?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to release guidelines this week detailing how Americans can safely alter their behavior once they’re fully vaccinated. But the rules are complicated by a few unknowns – namely, the extent to which vaccinated people can pass the virus to others and the threat of contagious variants that may evade vaccine protection.
Without more research, however, public-health experts caution that vaccinated people should continue to wear masks and social distance in public. Here’s what seven experts think are safe activities for vaccinated people.
Dinners with other vaccinated people are relatively low-risk
Dinners with other vaccinated people, whether indoors or outdoors, are a relatively safe activity.
“If we’re going to gather, we should gather smart, which doesn’t mean to have a 200-person wedding with people that you don’t know right away,” Dr. Dara Kass, an emergency-medicine physician at Columbia Medical Center in New York, told Insider. “Start, maybe, going out to dinner with a couple that is vaccinated, or your parents, maybe seeing them for a nuclear family dinner that you have been avoiding.”
In general, interactions between people who are fully vaccinated – or immune due to a previous infection – are relatively low-risk for all parties involved, according to Florian Krammer, a vaccinologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
“We need to be cautious and need to stay vigilant about risk,” he recently wrote. “But we should also allow people who have immunity to at least normalize some of their interactions.”
Small indoor gatherings aren’t such a bad idea, either
At a White House press briefing on Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said “doubly vaccinated” people – those who have received both doses of either Pfizer or Moderna’s shots – can safely gather indoors in small groups.
“I use the example of a daughter coming in from out of town who is doubly vaccinated, and a husband and wife doubly vaccinated, and maybe a next-door neighbor who you know are doubly vaccinated,” he said. “The relative risk is so low that you would not have to wear a mask.”
The new CDC guidelines will also advise that vaccinated people can host small, at-home gatherings with other fully vaccinated people, two senior White House officials involved in drafting the rules told Politico.
Dr. Peter Hotez, a molecular virologist at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, said he plans to visit his two oldest children and their spouses for the first time in 14 months this weekend. All of them have either been vaccinated or contracted COVID-19, he wrote.
Elderly people can see unvaccinated grandkids – with caveats
Many elderly Americans have said they plan to see their children and grandchildren post-vaccination. If all adults in a family are vaccinated, such a gathering becomes “fairly low risk,” according to Dr. Céline Gounder, an infectious-disease physician at New York University. That’s because coronavirus infections are generally mild or asymptomatic in children.
“What concerns me is the people who are not yet vaccinated,” Gounder told Insider. “For example, you have three generations in a family: vaccinated grandparents, but not children or adults. That could still be a real problem.”
Kass also said it’s probably safe for elderly, vaccinated people to see their unvaccinated grandkids.
“My parents are vaccinated, which means that my kids can go visit my parents with a sense of relief that we haven’t had before,” Kass said.
Kids under 16 likely won’t be eligible to receive a shot until at least the fall or winter, or perhaps even early 2022.
Domestic travel is relatively safe
The CDC may offer new travel guidelines for vaccinated Americans this week, but at the White House briefing on Monday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said “the goal is not to sort of open up travel” just yet.
For now, the CDC recommends that all Americans avoid domestic travel, if possible. For those who have been vaccinated, the agency suggests waiting to travel until at least two weeks after your second dose.
In general, however, experts say it should be fine for vaccinated people to travel within the US.
“If someone who is fully vaccinated decides to take a trip for non-essential reasons, they’re probably very well protected themselves and probably relatively protected against spreading the illness, too,” Dr. Leana Wen, the former health commissioner of Baltimore, told Insider.
Vaccinated people could potentially return to offices
Experts say most indoor activities wouldn’t be particularly risky if limited to vaccinated people only.
“For a fully vaccinated person who is in a cohort or socializes with other fully vaccinated people, I see it as being completely reasonable to go back to the theater and would even encourage people to see movies,” Dr. Daniel Griffin, a clinical medicine instructor at Columbia University, told Insider.
But the risk of transmission and infection would increase substantially if unvaccinated people join the activity.
“Could you return to the office, if it’s only people who have been vaccinated who are in the office? I think that is fine,” Gounder said. “Where it becomes more complicated is if you have a mix.”
Shares of AMC Entertainment extend their two-day rally to 36% after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that New York City movie theaters are set for partial reopening on March 5.
Cuomo said theaters are only allowed to operate at 25% capacity, or up to 50 people, per show. The governor also noted that assigned seating, social distancing, and other health precautions would be in place.
“We are excited to announce that AMC, the largest movie theatre exhibitor in New York City, will reopen all 13 of our theatres in New York City beginning March 5,” said Adam Aron, CEO of AMC, in a statement.
Aron noted that since reopening their theaters in August 2020, they have welcomed nearly 10 million moviegoers “without a single reported case of COVID-19 transmission.”
Theaters in New York City have been shut for nearly a year in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. Movie theaters in the state, meanwhile, have been open for some time at limited capacity, as well as in other parts of the country.
The recent move to welcome back moviegoers comes amidst the governor’s effort in repoening certain parts of the state to revive the economy from opening the doors of Barclays Center to Madison Square Garden.
Not everyone, though, is pleased. An employee at Madison Square told Insider that she was shocked by the swiftness of the governor’s announcement and argued that she would need a couple more weeks for her vaccine to fully take effect.
AMC, the world’s biggest movie-theater company, has seen its stock price skyrocket and plummet in the past weeks as Reddit traders targeted the company, along with GameStop, by buying large volumes in an attempt to squeeze hedge funds shorting these.
Apart from that, investors have reallocated their portfolio into so-called reopening sectors from travel to leisure and entertainment since signs of success from various COVID-19 vaccines began to appear.