Jul 6, 2021 - Economy & Business

AMC pulls plug on stock sale proposal

The awning of an AMC IMAX movie theater in New York City

Reddit traders drove AMC's stock to meteoric heights. Now they're one reason why the theater chain tabled its latest plan to cash in on that hype.

What's new: AMC said Tuesday it's putting off a vote that could have let the company sell up to 25 million more shares next year.

  • "The strength of the retail investor has been acknowledged and respected," one Reddit user posted in response.

Why it matters: It's how AMC has taken advantage of the absolute mania: issuing shares and using proceeds to shore up the business that's been clobbered by the pandemic.

Where it stands: "[T]hey have raised enough capital and have their debt trimmed to a manageable level," says Michael Pachter, a Wedbush analyst.

  • Movie-goers are returning, helping bolster cash — though overall movie attendance remains well below pre-pandemic levels.

Catch up quick: Retail investors, which own a whopping 80% of AMC's shares, voiced opposition to the share sale. But it's not clear whether enough of them would have "shown up" to even move the vote forward.

  • "It's sort of like you live by the sword, you die by the sword," says Matt Zloto, an analyst at CreditSights.
  • "There have been some really fantastic things that have happened ... given the excitement from retail investors. But then the reality is some of the more mundane aspects of investing, like voting in shareholder meetings, are a little bit anathema" to this group.

What to watch: AMC has had to confront the new face of shareholders: an army of retail investors that coalesce on social media platforms.

  • CEO Adam Aron said that the company would offer an early screening of "Escape Room" for AMC "Apes" — how company investors deem themselves on Reddit.

Go deeper: How AMC is different

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