The biggest shareholder of Reddit darling AMC downsized its stake after the theater chain’s record $4.6 billion loss last year

AMC Entertainment

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AMC’s largest investor gave up much of its power after the movie theater company reported a $4.6 billion loss last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Private Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, which invests in malls, sports, and tourism, owned more than 30% of AMC stock in early December 2020 along with 47% of the voting power, AMC said in its annual earnings report. On December 14, its share ownership decreased to 23.1%, per the filing. As of March 3, Wanda cut its stock ownership and voting power to 9.8%. 

Though Wanda gave up much of its ownership, the Chinese company, which bought AMC in 2012, remains the largest shareholder in the cinema chain, Bloomberg reported

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Even with the smaller stake, “Wanda may have significant influence over our corporate management and affairs,” AMC said in its report, noting the conglomerate’s representation on the board and its stock ownership. AMC, the world’s largest move theater operator, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on any changes to its operations as a result of the news.

Wanda’s move is the latest development in what’s been an eventful year for AMC. When the pandemic hit the US last year, movie theaters shut their doors for months, and people opted to wait for new films to be available for at-home streaming.

In 2020, AMC had a net earnings loss of $4.6 billion, as compared to a $149 million loss the year prior. The pandemic “has disrupted and is expected to continue to disrupt our business,” the company said in its March 12 report. Amid the closures, rumors floated that the company considered filing for bankruptcy.  

Then AMC became a Reddit darling. Day traders on the popular Reddit forum WallStreetBets started piling into the stock, along with other nostalgic companies, like GameStop, and helped the theater chain stave off bankruptcy. AMC shares have soared five-fold since the beginning of the year as a result, according to Markets Insider data.

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