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Mark Cuban, the billionaire co-owner of Landmark Theatres and owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, has recently acquired a 9.4% stake in Carmike Cinemas. The Associated Press is reporting that a regulatory filing posted on December 29, 2008, shows that Cuban bought 1.2 million shares of Carmike Cinemas for about $2.8 million dollars.
In Monday's SEC filing, Cuban said he acquired his stake in Columbus, Ga.-based Carmike for investment purposes. He reserved his right to discuss the company's performance and strategic direction with Carmike's stockholders, officers or directors.
You can read more of the AP story on Yahoo Finance, which can be found on the Read link below.
Cuban co-owns Landmark Theatres with Todd Wagner, who was with Cuban in founding online streaming company Audionet, later renamed to Broadcast.com. That company was sold in 1999 for a tidy sum of cash (before the dot-com bust in 2000). The two also own distribution studio Magnolia Pictures, production company 2929 Productions, and the HDNet/HDNet Movies cable/satellite networks.
He has also been a vocal proponent of changing the way that theaters do business. Not content with the same system that has been in place for decades, he has used his ownership of the various aspects of the entertainment business to deliver movies day-and-date to theaters, DVD, and television.
As you can imagine, most theater owners are opposed to removing their exclusivity of movies (called the "release window") for fear of people staying home instead of visiting their theaters. By owning all the various links in the chain, Cuban can test out his ideas without having to worry about being shut out by one particular link in the chain. Now, with his stake in Carmike, it looks like he might be looking to spread his influence beyond the art-house theaters that typically make up the Landmark Theatres chain.
The most recent attempt at alternative programming is the live broadcast of sporting events to theaters; with some of those events being done in 3D. Carmike has been a big proponent of digital cinema projection system upgrades in their theaters, and those systems make these sporting events possible. No doubt Cuban had that in mind when he was pulling out his wallet!
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