Major Cineplex, Thailand’s largest movie industry conglomerate, has announced that it has completed a deal to sell M Pictures Entertainment, one of the country’s leading film distributors. The buyer is local music star Khanngoen Nuanual.
The deal was first announced in February and has now been completed, according to a regulatory filing. Both Major Cineplex and M Pictures are companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.
Major Cineplex said that Nuanual had purchased 1.2 billion shares, representing 92.5% of the company, at THB0.54 apiece, implying a total transaction valued at THB650 million ($18.8 million). The filing added that Nuanual is now obliged to make a tender offer to the remaining minority shareholders and that this step is expected to be completed by the end of July.
M Pictures claims over 25 years of experience in film distribution and marketing, with releasing operations in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Its past acquisitions have included “The Imitation Game,” “Whiplash” and “Hellboy.” It also operates as a production company and sales agent, with 5-6 titles per year. Past titles have included “London Sweeties” and hit “Krasue: Inhuman Kiss.”
Nuanual, aka Khan, is a leading star in the Thai music scene, best known for being part of hip-hop and rap group Thaitanium. Hailing from a wealthy family, he has also been a property investor and serial entrepreneur. Among other investments, he was a co-founder of Asiola, a crowdfunding platform.
The separation from Major Cineplex, which accounts for some 80% of the Thai cinema exhibition market, could imply a new chapter for M Pictures as an independent. It is unclear whether Nuanual will seek to keep the company’s stock listing after completion of the tender.
The move comes as the political chatter puts cinema exhibition on a list of monopolies that the recently successful Future Party would like to break up if it achieves real political power.
The move also comes at a time when Thailand’s theatrical box office struggles to recover to pre-COVID levels, but its film and TV producers find themselves in growing demand from Asian and global streaming companies seeking local and regional content.
The deal in February was conducted at a significant discount to M Pictures’ market valuation. In January, the company stock traded around THB1.50 per share. Since the announcement, the stock has risen further, closing Wednesday at THB2.74, a 90% gain on the year and more than 300% higher than the price Nuanual is paying to Major Cineplex.