Cineplex awarded $1.24-billion in damages in Cineworld suit

TORONTO – Cineplex Inc. says the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ruled in its favour in a breach of contract lawsuit against its former suitor and U.K. theatre operator Cineworld Group PLC.

The Canadian film exhibitor says the court awarded damages of $1.24 billion and denied a counterclaim by Cineworld.

Cineworld walked away from its deal to acquire Cineplex in June 2020 as pandemic-related shutdowns closed theatres, alleging material adverse effects and breaches by Cineplex.

Cineplex called Cineworld’s decision to terminate the deal “nothing more than a case of buyer’s remorse.”

The case was seen by some observers as potentially precedent-setting for other companies that may be embroiled in their own litigations over abandoned acquisitions and material adverse effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ellis Jacob, president and CEO of Cineplex, says the company’s leadership was “pleased” with the court’s decision that found that “Cineplex acted properly throughout this difficult period in our history.”

“We are proud of the relationships we have maintained through this process and remain steadfastly committed to our guests, shareholders and team across Canada and the United States,” he added.

A representative for Cineworld did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The company will now have 30 days to appeal the decision.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 14, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CGX)

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