AMC Entertainment appears to have found a creative solution to boost its share count and raise funds after investors balked at a proposal to issue more shares last year.
AMC on Thursday said it plans to issue a dividend to all common shareholders in the form of preferred shares. The company has applied to list these preferred equity units on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “APE,” a nod to the retail investors who helped rescue the largest movie theater chain in the world from the brink of bankruptcy in early 2021, dubbed “apes.”
Shares of AMC fell roughly 6% in extended trading Thursday.
“Today we are rewarding and recognizing our passionate and supportive shareholders, both to our shareholders in the U.S. and internationally,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “Shareholders will receive one AMC Preferred Equity unit for each company issued share of AMC common stock that they own.”
The company expects to issue a dividend of around 517 million APE units later this month. The shares will start trading on Aug. 22. The new class of shares carries the same voting rights as the existing common shares, the company said in a release.
AMC raised billions during the pandemic by selling new stock, but ran out of shares to sell. Investors, fearing dilution, rejected the company’s efforts to issue additional stock.
These preferred equity units are a workaround, of sorts, and free AMC up to sell additional units of stock as it continues to revive its business after the pandemic. After offering the 517 million APE unites, AMC will still have around 4.5 billion units remaining that it could sell to raise funds.
“With the creation of APEs, AMC is deeply and fundamentally strengthening our company,” Aron said in a separate shareholder letter issues Thursday. “Given the flexibility that APEs will give us, we likely will be able to raise money if we need or so choose, which immensely lessens any survival risk as we continue to work our way through this pandemic to recovery and transformation.”
While AMC pulled in nearly $1.2 billion in revenue during the quarter ended June 30, the company posted a net loss of $121.6 million, according to its second-quarter results Thursday.