just struck gold. Literally.
The movie theater company announced it has bought a 22% stake in
Hycroft Mining Holding
and its 71,000-acre gold and silver mine in northern Nevada.
(ticker: AMC) will invest $27.9 million in cash in Hycroft (
) in exchange for 23.4 million warrants units, with each unit consisting of one common share of Hycroft and one common share purchase warrant. The units are priced at $1.193 a share, while each purchase warrant is priced at about $1.07 a share and carries a five-year term. AMC also was granted the right to appoint a representative to Hycroft’s board.
Eric Sprott, one of the world’s leading gold and silver investors, will make an equal investment in Hycroft along with AMC. Together, AMC and Sprott are investing $56 million.
The investment was made through a holding company for Sprott, not through the investor’s eponymous alternative asset manager Sprott Inc., the company clarified. Sprott Inc. couldn’t comment on the investment. Eric Sprott and his holding company were not immediately available to comment on the investment.
The Hycroft Mine has about 15 million ounces of gold deposits and some 600 million ounces of silver deposits, AMC said.
“To state the obvious, one would not normally think that a movie theater company’s core competency includes gold or silver mining,” said AMC CEO Adam Aron.
Indeed, the news came as a surprise to Wall Street analysts.
“It doesn’t seem like a terrible downside, but at the same time, it’s bizarre,” said Wedbush analyst Alicia Reese. “It’s unexpected to say the least.”
Although box office sales are coming back, with high-profile premieres like “The Batman” bringing in $128.5 million in North American ticket sales during the film’s opening weekend, AMC is shifting its model to diversify its holdings after ticket sales took a hit during the pandemic.
The company is using the money it raked in from the same investing frenzy—bout $1.8 billion, according to Aron—to fund the investment.
“Our strategic investment being announced today is the result of our having identified a company in an unrelated industry that appears to be just like AMC of a year ago. It, too, has rock-solid assets, but for a variety of reasons, it has been facing a severe and immediate liquidity issue,” Aron said.
Aron believes AMC can help the mining company navigate its liquidity issues.
“Should this company bounce back, it’ll be a nice cash windfall, creating more liquidity for them later,” Reese said. And in the grand scheme of things, $28 million is relatively inexpensive if the effort goes south, she added.
In the past, meme traders tended to flock toward cryptocurrencies and other meme stocks, but typically avoided gold, wrote Oanda analyst Edward Moya. AMC’s move could change that.
“It appears meme stock trading is trying to make a comeback with Hycroft Mining, a little distressed gold miner, but that should suggest more companies will follow suit,” Moya wrote.
AMC’s other investments include adding new theaters, increasing IMAX (IMAX) and Dolby Cinema premium screens, and NFT programs. The chain has also moved to accept cryptocurrency in theaters to boost attendance, and has a new initiative to enter retail popcorn sales.
“Even with the enthusiasm that the public has for moviegoing at our theatres, it is not enough for us to merely bring back the AMC of old,” he said.
Shares of AMC rose 6.9% to $14.49 Tuesday, while Hycroft stock gained 9.4%, after being up more than 24% earlier in the day.
Write to Sabrina Escobar at firstname.lastname@example.org