AMC may launch branded wine, named in honor of ‘Ape’ retail investors

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AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. may ramp up its efforts to sell branded products with wine named in honor of the investors that turned the movie theater chain into a meme stock darling.  

The company’s CEO Adam discussed the possibility of AMC

branded wine on Twitter Friday, tweeting a poll requesting opinions on the idea. “We launched our own brand of home popcorn, and soon will launch our own branded line of premium gourmet chocolate candies,” he wrote. “If we offered at our theatres our own branded wine, too, we might name it ‘Chateau Simian’ or ‘Saint Simian’ in honor of our retail investors. Your opinion?”

“Simian” is a nod to the investors who turned the company into a meme stock, who often refer to themselves as “apes” or “ape nation.”

Related: AMC, buoyed by its popcorn push, prepares to launch branded premium gourmet candy

AMC has made a concerted push into branded products recently. The company announced a popcorn partnership with Walmart Inc. 

earlier this year, with the product initially available at hundreds of the retail giant’s stores ahead of the Academy Awards on March 12. The following month, the deal was expanded to encompass 2,600 Walmart stores.

The AMC-branded ready-to-eat and microwave-at-home popcorn have been “flying off the shelves” at Walmart stores and from the retailer’s website, Aron said during the conference call to discuss AMC’s second-quarter results last month.

AMC is looking to expand the popcorn partnership to other grocery chains, according to Aron, who said that it could become a $100 million-a-year revenue source for AMC. Aron has also said that AMC is planning to launch branded premium gourmet candy.

Related: AMC set to expand its branded popcorn sales to 2,600 Walmart stores

AMC is no stranger to bold moves, as evidenced by the company’s chain’s $27.9-million investment in gold and silver miner Hycroft Mining Holding Corp. 

last year. The movie-theater chain also took aim at its massive debt burden last year with the launch of its AMC Preferred Equity units.

AMC’s stock underwent a 1-for-10 reverse stock split in late August. The company also completed the conversion of its AMC Preferred Equity units to common stock last month. Last week the company announced the completion of its at-the-market equity offering, raising approximately $325.5 million. In a statement, AMC said that the equity offering boosts its cash reserves, addresses current liquidity concerns and fortifies the company’s balance sheet. Aron has repeatedly warned that the company faces liquidity challenges

Aron addressed the recent stock conversion’s impact last week. “Like you, the coming together of AMC common and preferred stock along with the reverse stock split in August decreased both my number of owned and granted-but-unvested AMC shares/units,” he tweeted Wednesday. “So, I currently have an economic interest in more than 800,000 AMC shares now, rather than the more than 8 million AMC shares and APE units previously. In turn, that means I personally experienced the great pain felt by all AMC shareholders at the recent decline in our stock price.”

Related: AMC equity offering is a ‘safety net’ and a chance to reduce debt balances, analyst says

AMC’s stock has fallen 69.6% in the last month, compared with the S&P 500 index’s
gain of 1.8%. Shares of AMC ended Friday’s session up 2.7%.

On Thursday Aron tweeted that he had received over 5,000 comments in response to his tweets of the prior two days. “I try to read them all, or as many as I can,” he wrote. “As should be expected, many are positive, many are negative.”

Related: ‘Dumb Money’ movie thrusts GameStop saga into spotlight, but don’t expect a meme stock spike

The movie-theater chain has been on a roller-coaster ride over the past few years that took it from a beleaguered pandemic victim to a meme-stock phenomenon. AMC used the steep rise in its share price to tap into equity and debt markets, raising $917 million in January 2021.


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