Movie theater chain AMC Entertainment has agreed to buy a major stake in a gold and silver mine in Nevada, the companies announced Tuesday, an unusual extension for the single-meme promotion.
AMC will pay $27.9 million in cash for the transaction and approximately 23.4 million shares of Hycroft Mining Holding Corp. and receive an equal amount of stock warrants. The deal would give AMC ownership of approximately 22% of Hycroft.
Hycroft shares are up more than 30% to $1.86 Tuesday morning after more than doubling at one point in premarket trading. AMC shares, which are down 50% this year alone, fell slightly.
AMC CEO Adam Aron was scheduled to appear on CNBC Tuesday morning but canceled his interview, saying he wasn’t comfortable commenting publicly on the move due to stock volatility, CNBC’s David Faber reported.
In a quarterly securities filing released in November, Hycroft included a “going concern” clause, saying it would likely need to raise additional funds to meet its financial obligations next year.
In a statement explaining the move, Aron cited the recent success of the theatrical releases of Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Batman, as well as positive box office expectations this year. He also drew parallels between his company and the miner.
“Our strategic investment announced today is the result of our identification of a company in an unrelated industry that appears to be just like AMC a year ago,” he said. “It too has rock solid assets, but faced a serious and immediate liquidity problem for a variety of reasons. As a result, their share price dropped ours.”
AMC’s stock has become one of the top “meme stocks” over the past year, exploding as an army of retail investors bought shares in companies that hedge funds have been severely slashed. Aron welcomed the new shareholders and offered the company’s owners popcorn deals.
The company also used its newfound popularity to raise billions of dollars in additional capital, with Aron saying some of that money would be used for strategic acquisitions. Aron sold tens of millions of dollars of his own AMC stock, which he attributed to estate planning. AMC is also experimenting with a new pricing model that charges more for certain films.
Alongside AMC, an equal number of Hycroft shares and warrants will be purchased by metals investor Eric Sprott. Hycroft said in its statement that investment vehicle Sprott Private Resource Lending II has agreed to extend its debt term from May 2027 to May 2025.
As part of the deal, Hycroft no longer has to make regular payments on the principal balance of that debt and instead has to pay it all off in one “bullet” payment in 2027, according to a securities account .
In a separate securities filing, Hycroft said it has reached an agreement with B. Riley Securities to sell up to $500 million of its stock in a market offering program.