We begin the article by stating that to boycott a business must be an individual choice and that we have a declaration of bias since some of our employees invested £41,000 of their pension savings into Cineworld shares. That said, we think the idea some might have to boycott Cineworld speaks for itself..
Cineworld is the world’s second largest theatre chain behind AMC and globally just two films (Barbie and Oppenheimer) made more than a billion dollars in just 10 days this year. So the cinema industry remains a solid investment choice and Cineworld ought to have been a good investment. To boycott Cineworld was once an idea occurring to nobody.
Cineworld was founded in 1995 and by 2004 Cineworld was acquired by Blackstone private equity group for £120m. The following year, Cineworld acquired the UK and Ireland operations of French cinema company UGC (remember them?). In December 2012, Cineworld bought the Picturehouse Cinema chain (no plans to boycott Cineworld at this point..). In 2014, Cineworld completed the takeover of Cinema City International N.V. and from March 2015, the Greidinger family (who owned a controlling stake in Cinema City International) became the largest shareholders in the enlarged company too. Mooky Greidinger joined the Cineworld board of directors as CEO, having previously been CEO of Cinema City International. – Reference Wikipedia
Unfortunately the new leaders had a more aggressive risk-taking personality indicated by subsequent decision-making and the idea to boycott Cineworld probably should probably be linked back to this point. In 2016, Cineworld acquired six cinemas from Empire Cinemas and in 2017, Cineworld bought Regal Cinemas for £2.7 billion! creating the world’s second largest cinema group. It also allowed Cineworld access to the US market, the largest in the world (to boycott Cineworld for squeezing out the little guy can be one reason). In 2019, Cineworld invested in a film production company and attempted to buy Cineplex Entertainment (Canada’s largest cinema chain) for approximately £1.7 billion (just two years after spending nearly £3billion for Regal Cinemas…). – Reference Wikipedia
Well, this gave them £4billion of debt and when the COVID pandemic hit, they could no longer empty enough water from their boat to stop it from sinking. That is tragic except that many people (figuratively) drowned and the Captain left his staff and passengers to drown whilst he was rescued (the senior management team negotiating an exit package worth up to £28 million according to a Financial Times report and Shares Magazine). To boycott Cineworld for this reason seems justified.
But don’t worry everyone, the company said it will be ‘business as usual’ for the operating businesses and brands. And Chairman Eric Foss released a statement saying “Cineworld is ready and fully able to succeed in this dynamic and constantly changing movie theatre industry,” – CNN Business.
Isn’t that nice..
According to Shares Magazine; The group also expects the proposed restructuring to ‘transform’ the balance sheet with the release of existing £3.62 billion of indebtedness, the provision of £1.17 billion of new debt financing and execution of a rights offering to raise proceeds of £640 million.
Then the administrators will transfer all assets to wholly owned subsidiary Crown UK Holdco and a newly controlled entity of the lenders will have ownership of that subsidiary.
‘‘..the plan is to allow the business of the group to emerge from the Chapter 11 cases as a continued going concern, but it will not achieve a rescue of Cineworld Group plc itself,’ the company said.
How marvellous.. so the management in charge leave with £28 million, the company Cineworld does not stop trading and makes record profits (Barbie etc), the lenders take ownership so they can use all trading profits to regain their loans at which point they’ll sell Cineworld to make even more money and small individuals investing their savings lose all. You may think that reason enough to boycott Cineworld. But isn’t boycotting a way to protest at how big money treats the public with contempt? They expect you the public to carry on going to your nearest cinema rather than going a little further to a different cinema because they think you are stupid. They want to steal from you and then think you will go back and hand them more money to sit in their cinemas.
To boycott Cineworld then seems more a question of are you as stupid as the big money people think you are? Sitting in your allocated seat handing them money. Or will you vote with your feet and choose any cinema other than Cineworld and Picturehouse to show them they can’t just make your cinema bankrupt so shareholders lose all their money yet keep the cinemas open so the banks and lenders get billions and think we’re stupid enough to just keep buying their tickets and popcorn…
YouCom Media News, November 2023, London, ‘Boycott Cineworld.’