The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


February 19, 2013

Owner of Joplin's Northstar 14 agrees to sell to Regal Entertainment

JOPLIN, Mo. — A Tennessee company announced plans Tuesday to buy the theater group that runs the Northstar 14 in Joplin.

Regal Entertainment Group, based in Knoxville, Tenn., said it already owns and operates the  largest theater circuit in the country, and that it will now add Hollywood Theaters, based in Oregon, to its chain.

Besides Joplin, Hollywood owns theaters in Springfield, Columbia and St. Joseph in Missouri; Lawrence and Topeka in Kansas; and Bartlesville and Tulsa in Oklahoma.

Calls to both companies to find out what the deal will mean for employees and moviegoers at the cinema complex near Northpark Mall were not returned.

According to a statement announcing the deal, Regal said it has entered into an agreement to buy Hollywood for $191 million in cash, with $157 million of that to be used to repay Hollywood debt. Regal also will assume about $47 million in lease obligations.

The deal will add 43 Hollywood theaters with 513 screens to Regal.

Regal's theater group, comprising Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres and Edwards Theatres, operates 6,880 screens in 540 locations in 38 states and the District of Columbia.

Joplin's master developer, Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, of Texas, has proposed building a second movie theater near 20th Street and Connecticut Avenue in conjunction with a new public library, but no theater company has been announced for that site.

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A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

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