Cuban Puts Landmark Theatres, Magnolia Pictures Up for Sale

Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, speaks at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on Oct. 21, 2009. Photographer: Kim White/Bloomberg

Billionaire Mark Cuban has put his Landmark Theatres and Magnolia Pictures up for sale, saying entertainment companies are attracting “huge valuations.”

Cuban, 52, is “just testing the waters,” he said yesterday in an e-mail in response to a question from Bloomberg News. “We won’t sell unless the offer is very, very compelling.”

Moelis & Co., a New York-based investment bank, is handling the auction, according to a person familiar with the situation. Bidders are expected to file their offers next week, said the person, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

Landmark Theatres, founded in 1974, operates 55 cinemas with 245 screens in 21 cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The decision to put it on the block comes as U.S. box-office sales have declined 20 percent this year, according to Box-Office. Magnolia Pictures distributes independent films in theaters and for home entertainment.

Both are part of 2929 Entertainment, a holding company for Cuban and business partner Todd Wagner’s media assets that also includes the HDNet cable channel and HDNet Movies.

With Magnolia, known for films such as “Man on Wire” and “The Girlfriend Experience,” Cuban and Wagner have experimented with releasing movies simultaneously across theatrical, television and home-video platforms.

Andrea Hurst, a spokeswoman for Moelis in New York, declined to comment.

In addition to the box-office slump, cinema chains face demands from studios to shorten movies’ exclusive theatrical runs. The industry is also investing in digital projection systems to upgrade facilities and offer premium enhancements such as 3-D showings.

AMC Entertainment Group Inc., the second-largest U.S. movie-theater owner, purchased 93 Kerasotes Showplace Theatres for $275 million last year. Walt Disney Co. sold its Miramax Films in December to investors led by Ron Tutor and Colony Capital LLC for $663 million.

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