AMC

Wang Jianlin is chairman of Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group, which acquired AMC Entertainment last year for $2.6 billion. (David Pierson / Los Angeles Times)

Care to buy some stock, along with that extra-large popcorn and soda?

The American movie theater chain controlled by China's wealthiest man is going forward with a planned $368-million initial public offering -- and, in an unconventional move, is inviting favored cinema customers to join in the investing.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., owned by Chinese entertainment company Dalian Wanda Group, said it plans to sell 18.4 million shares at $18 to $20 each while reserving some of the shares for members of its customer loyalty program, according to a regulatory filing.

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The Leawood, Kan.-based chain invited members of the program, called Stubs, to buy and sell $100 to $2,500 of stock with no fees, and extended a similar offer to employees. The program, which has about 2.5 million households participating, charges a $12 annual fee to members, who receive a $10 reward to every $100 they spend in theaters.

"While many companies depend on their customers' support every day, those customers don't always get the chance to own a piece of the action at the same price as Wall Street investors,'' AMC Entertainment Chief Executive Gerry Lopez said in a letter to club members. "We’re offering this exclusive employee benefit to our AMC Stubs members to express our sincere gratitude for your loyalty.”

AMC announced its IPO plans in August, saying it would use proceeds to fund acquisitions and pay down debt.

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Dalian Wanda bought AMC last year for $2.6 billion, creating the world's largest theater chain. Wanda is led by Wang Jianlin, a Chinese billionaire who also plans to build the world's largest movie studio in his country. Dalian Wanda plans to retain an 80% stake in the company following the public offering.

AMC, which has 4,950 screens in North America, is the nation's second-largest theater circuit behind Regal Entertainment. The company recently reported revenue of $2.7 billion and cash flow of $450 million in the last 12 months.

AMC declined to comment on the IPO.

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