Carmike Cinemas Inc., the nation's fourth largest theater chain, is getting bigger.
The Columbus, Ga.-based chain said it had signed a deal with Digital Cinema Destinations Corp. of Westfield, N.J., to acquire the Digiplex chain in a deal valued at $64 million. That transaction includes $45 million in stock and $19 million in assumed debt and other obligations.
Under the deal, Carmike will acquire 21 Digiplex theaters with 206 screens, including five in Riverside, San Diego and San Bernardino counties.
The transaction allows Carmike to expand into Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland and New Hampshire, increasing the company's footprint to 280 theaters and 2,936 screens in 41 states.
The acquisition is the latest expansion by Carmike, which bills itself as "America's Hometown Theater Chain." In 2012, Carmike purchased 16 theaters with 251 screens from Dallas-headquartered Rave Review Cinemas for $19 million in cash and $100.4 million of assumed lease obligations.
Since its founding in 2010 by Bud Mayo, Digiplex has been a leader in programming alternative entertainment, such as concerts, opera and documentaries.
“Carmike strives to be an innovator in the exhibition industry, and we believe the addition of the Digiplex circuit will further enhance those efforts," Carmike Chief Executive David Passman said in a statement. “Digiplex has built an industry leading alternative programming business, generating approximately 5% of admissions revenue, a significantly higher percentage than their larger peers."
Mayo said Digiplex shareholders will "benefit by receiving stock in one of the industry-leading exhibitors."