Wanda and AMC announced the $2.6bn transaction at a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday (Sept 4) when Wanda said it would invest up to an additional $500m in the unit over time “to fund strategic and operating initiatives.”

AMC will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary and will continue to control film programming. It will remain at the Kansas City metropolitan area headquarters, with more than 17,000 associates operating theatres in 32 states across the US.

The buy-out creates the world’s largest global cinema owner and combines Wanda’s 94 theatres, 805 screens and large-scale stage show, film production and distribution chains with AMC’s 338 multiplex theatres and 4,865 screens, including 2,171 3-D screens and 124 IMAX screens.

Beijing-based Wanda chairman and president Jianlin Wang (pictured) announced the company was looking to invest up to a further $10bn in entertainment and lifestyle assets outside China in the years ahead and said he would be meeting with five undisclosed Los Angeles-based film companies on this trip.

IMAX Corporation chief Rich Gelfond attended the press conference and revealed he would be in talks with Wanda to increase his company’s screen count in its theatres in China.

“We are very pleased to have completed the acquisition of AMC and begin this new chapter in Wanda’s international development,” Wang said in a statement.

“Throughout this entire process we have been impressed with the expertise and dedication of AMC’s management team and associates. We now look forward to working with AMC’s CEO Gerry Lopez and his team to invest in and build on the company’s widely-recognised brand and the incomparable entertainment experience AMC offers to its millions of customers.”

“All of us at AMC are thrilled about our future with Wanda,” AMC CEO and president Lopez said in a statement. “It allows us to continue expanding and innovating in what is the world’s largest movie market.

“More so, we are enthusiastic about combining AMC’s leadership in the US with Wanda’s leadership in China, the world’s fastest-growing market. We strongly believe in our shared common interests in advancing the movie industry and we feel this partnership creates one of the world’s premier location-based entertainment companies.”