Billionaire investors Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner have found a buyer for Landmark Theatres, the nation’s largest owner of art-house cinemas.
The Los Angeles-based company has been sold to Cohen Media Group, the film production and distribution company of New York real estate billionaire Charles S. Cohen, the firms said Tuesday.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Privately held Landmark specializes in independent and foreign films, along with new Hollywood fare. It owns and operates 52 theaters with 252 screens in 27 cities, including New York, Denver, Washington and San Francisco. It has three Los Angeles locations, including its flagship theater, the Landmark at the Westside Pavillion.
Dallas Mavericks owner Cuban and his longtime business partner Wagner have been looking to sell Landmark for years, on an off-and-on basis. They acquired the chain in 2003 from Los Angeles-based asset manager Oaktree Capital, which had taken the exhibitor out of bankruptcy.
The company’s most recent effort to sell Landmark began late last year. The process started to kick into high gear in spring as suitors expressed interest in doing a deal.
Cuban and Wagner previously put Landmark on the block in 2011, but no sale occurred. Cuban and Wagner also own indie film distributor Magnolia Pictures and networks AXS TV and HDNet Movies.
Landmark has attracted interest from multiple potential buyers over the last few months. Executives at global streaming giant Netflix Inc. had broached the idea of buying Landmark but backed off over price, according to people familiar with the matter. Amazon.com, which has its own film production and streaming business, was also reportedly interested. Additionally, outspoken media entrepreneur Byron Allen had talked about buying the company.
But Cohen was a natural fit to buy Landmark, which will retain its current senior leadership team including Chief Executive Ted Mundorff, executives said.
Cohen, worth $3.4 billion, according to Forbes, made his fortune in real estate, owning office buildings in New York City and multiple design centers.
His Cohen Media Group specializes in releasing foreign and art-house titles, such as the Iranian drama “The Salesman,” which won the 2017 Oscar for best foreign language film, and the 2015 release “Timbuktu.” In addition to distributing movies, the company is known for restoring cinematic classics including the Merchant Ivory collection and the Buster Keaton catalog. Buying the Landmark chain will give Cohen a stronger platform to distribute his company’s movies.
“I think it's the best scenario that you could ask for,” Mundorff said in a phone interview. “You have a gentleman who’s passionate about independent film, and now he gets to buy the premier indie circuit. It's handmade for him.”
Cohen serves as chairman and chief executive of Cohen Brothers Realty Corp. The New York firm owns and manages more than 12 million square feet of office space and design centers across the country, according to trade publication Real Deal New York. Among its properties is West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center.