On October 10, 2013 the Competition Bureau issued a no-action letter in respect of the acquisition
by Cineplex Inc. (Cineplex) of 24 movie theatres in Atlantic Canada
from its competitor, Empire Theatres Ltd. (Empire), indicating that
the Commissioner does not, at this time, intend to challenge the
proposed acquisition pursuant to section 92 of the Competition Act.
By way of background, Cineplex originally sought to acquire two
additional theatres in Ontario along with Empire's 24 movie
theatres in Atlantic Canada. Following a three-month review of the
proposed transaction, the Bureau raised concerns over the
competitive overlap of the parties in Ontario, determining that the
proposed transaction would likely result in a substantial lessening
of competition in that province. The Bureau had no concerns with
respect to a lessening of competition in Atlantic Canada, as
Cineplex currently has no theatres there.
In a "fix-it-first" solution, the proposed transaction
was subsequently restructured so that an alternative buyer
(Landmark Cinemas) would acquire the two Ontario theatres. Landmark
Cinemas currently operates 31 theatres across Western Canada. The
two theatres acquired from Cineplex, along with the additional
purchase of 20 theatres from Empire (announced on June 27, 2013), will make
Landmark Cinemas the second-largest cinema chain in Canada.
Cineplex will remain Canada's largest theatre chain,
operating a total of 161 theatres across the country.
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