On November 3, 2014, the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division challenged National CineMedia, Inc.’s (“NCM”) proposed acquisition of Screenvision by filing a lawsuit in federal court. The transaction would have combined the only two significant cinema advertising networks in the United States.
On May 5, 2014, NCM, Inc. entered into the Merger Agreement to acquire Screenvision for $375 million. NCM, Inc. is the managing member and owner of 45.8% of National CineMedia, LLC (“NCM”), the operator of the largest in-theatre digital media network in North America. Following the merger, NCM, Inc. was to evaluate whether to contribute the Screenvision assets to NCM LLC. Technically, it is not America’s largest cinema advertiser buying the industry’s second largest, but the largest member in the largest cinema advertiser making the purchase. It is a distinction without a difference because the bottom line is the deal would have combined the only two significant cinema advertising networks.