Canada's Cineplex to sue Cineworld Group, seeks damages for scrapped deal

(Reuters) - Canadian movie theater operator Cineplex Inc CGX.TO said on Friday it would sue Cineworld Group Plc CINE.L, seeking damages after the British company "wrongfully" scrapped its $1.65 billion buyout deal last month.

The Cineplex claim seeks damages, including about $2.18 billion that Cineworld would have paid upon the closing of the deal, and the failure of Cineworld to repay the company’s about $664 million in debt and transaction expenses.

Cineplex claims that Cineworld breached its obligations and duty of “good faith and honesty” in contractual performance.

“The contractual agreements between the parties expressly exclude outbreaks of illness, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, as a circumstance entitling Cineworld to terminate the arrangement,” Cineplex said in a statement.

Cineworld on June 12 abandoned its deal to buy Cineplex, citing what it termed the Canadian company’s breaches in the merger agreement between the cinema operators.

Cineplex had issued a separate statement denying the claims of Cineworld and saying that Cineworld’s allegations stem from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Canadian company said it has also advanced alternative claims for damages for the loss of benefits to its shareholders, and has commenced action in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against Cineworld.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese