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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinemas in the News   » Marcus Buying GKC?

Author Topic: Marcus Buying GKC?
The Evil Sam Graham

Posts: 85
From: Des Moines, IA
Registered: Jan 2004

 - posted January 16, 2005 12:09 AM      Profile for The Evil Sam Graham   Author's Homepage   Email The Evil Sam Graham         Edit/Delete Post 
SOURCE: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Marcus may focus on acquisition

GKC purchase would boost buyer to No. 8 in theater screens


Marcus Corp., flush with cash from the sale of its Baymont Inns & Suites operation, could be contemplating an acquisition that would significantly expand its movie theater chain.

Milwaukee-based Marcus appears interested in GKC Theatres, according to other theater operators. GKC, based in Springfield, Ill., bills itself as the nation’s 15th-largest theater circuit, with around 260 screens.

A Marcus spokeswoman said Wednesday that executives from the publicly traded company would not comment.

GKC President Beth Kerasotes said, “I’m not at liberty to really talk about it at this point.”

Greg Boardman, who competes with GKC with his Boardman’s Theater in Champaign, Ill., said he recently heard that Marcus was going to buy at least a portion of GKC’s operations.

The chief executive officer of a Midwestern theater chain, who asked not to be identified, said he’s heard the same thing.

Most of GKC’s theaters are in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. The family-owned chain, known formally as George Kerasotes Corp., has just one Wisconsin theater, in Marinette, according to its Internet site.

Marcus is the ninth-largest theater chain. It owns or operates 491 screens in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio.

Combined, Marcus and GKC would be the nation’s eighth-largest theater circuit, with about 750 screens.

That would greatly strengthen Marcus’ Midwest base. It would be the largest acquisition by Marcus, which has expanded mainly by building theaters and avoided the industry’s financial troubles of the late 1990s when several major chains grew too quickly.

Marcus would remain a smaller player when compared with such nationwide chains as No. 1 Regal Entertainment Group Inc., which operates more than 6,000 screens, and No. 2 AMC Entertainment Inc., which operates more than 3,000 screens, including AMC Mayfair 18, at Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa.

A combination of Marcus and GKC would not involve any overlap in current markets. GKC’s Illinois theaters are mainly in such downstate communities as Peoria, Bloomington and Champaign, while Marcus operates in the Chicago area. Marcus, the dominant theater chain in southeastern Wisconsin, has no theater in Marinette.

Such an acquisition by Marcus would make sense, said Michael Steppe, chief investment officer at Brookfield Investment Partners LLC.

“I’m sure they’d look at it if they felt it was attractively priced,” said Steppe, who owns a stake in Marcus. “They’re certainly looking for that type of acquisition.”

Marcus in September completed the sale of its Baymont Inns & Suites, along with other limited service hotels, to La Quinta Corp. for $412 million. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Marcus said in December that the company is continuing to evaluate the potential uses of the Baymont sale proceeds.

Marcus has so far recorded a $71 million after-tax gain from the sale. About $40 million in additional sale proceeds remains in escrow.

Marcus and GKC developed from similar backgrounds.

Marcus Theatres was founded by Stephen Marcus’ father, Ben, who immigrated to the United States from Poland as a teenager and opened a single-screen theater in Ripon in 1935. The growing theater chain later expanded into hotels, and Marcus Corp. today owns or manages 10 hotels and resorts, including the Pfister Hotel and Hilton Milwaukee City Center, both in downtown Milwaukee. Ben Marcus died in 2000. GKC’s roots date back to 1909, when Greek immigrant Gus Kerasotes opened a theater in Springfield. His son, George, later expanded the business, then known as Kerasotes Theatres. In 1985, family members split that operation into two separate chains: Springfield-based GKC, which is now operated by George’s daughter, Beth, and Chicago-based Kerasotes Showplace Theatres. George Kerasotes died in 2001.

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John McDowell
New Member

Posts: 18
From: Reed City, MI
Registered: Mar 2003

 - posted February 21, 2005 02:49 PM      Profile for John McDowell   Email John McDowell         Edit/Delete Post 
That would be great news, especially if Marcus brought up some of the GKC houses to better standards.
In the ones I've attended, the screens weren't quite the right aspect ratio. Credits that appeared in the lower portion of the picture were partially cut off. Actually, they were on the masking.
Then there was the time way back during the last theatrical release of "Fantasia" where the projected image was surrounded by several feet of blank screen on all sides.
I know that theatres were instructed to project this at 1.33/1
and were provided proper aperature plates, and also not to cut off the top and bottom of the frame.
However, they were provided with an incorrect lens.
I had substituted at that theatre before it was converted into a 4 screen. I offered to show them what was wrong, but they thought they knew better.
Oh well.

Also, there is a new theatre open in Ludington, Michigan as of late last fall.
It's also a GKC house, called the Harbor Cinemas.
It appears to be an 8 screen operation.
The location is near the U.S. 31 interchange with U.S. 10.
I'm hoping to get over that way for some pictures.
This may spell curtains for the old downtown Lyric (now a 4 screen conversion).
I don't think that area needs 12 screens.

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