Thursday, May 30, 2024

Lauren Zalaznick To Chair National CineMedia As It Exits Chapter 11 – Deadline

National CineMedia shares are popping today in a down market as the cinema advertising company emerged from Chapter 11 and named former top executives of NBCUniversal, HBO and Fox to a reconstituted, and pretty impressive, board of directors.

Lauren Zalaznick, formerly EVP & Chair, Entertainment & Digital Networks, Comcast NBCUniversal, is now board chair. “We on the board commend the NCM team for navigating through this important process without disruption to its operations or customer relationships,” she said in a statement. “With the successful completion of the restructuring, NCM is laser-focused on its best-in-class, full-funnel advertising solutions and innovative data technology, empowering advertisers to reach moviegoing audiences with scale and measurability.”

Zalaznick currently works with companies on content, marketing, sales and direct-to-consumer strategies and is a senior advisor to Boston Consulting Group’s Global TMT Practice. She sits on the boards of RTL Group and GoPro.

Other directors now include: Bernadette Aulestia, former President, Global Distribution HBO. She serves on the boards of Nexstar Media Group and Denny’s, and Joe Marchese, former head of advertising for Fox Networks Group, currently CEO of media and tech holding company Attention Capital. Marchese is also co-Founder and executive chairman of Human Ventures, a leading start-up studio and venture fund, and a partner/co-founder of Casa Komos Brands Group, a portfolio of elevated hospitality brands.

Also on the board: Jean-Philippe Maheu, former Global VP, Client Solutions & Advertising Sales at Twitter, CEO of Razorfish, Global CEO of Publicis Modem, and chief digital officer, North America, Ogilvy & Mather; Juliana Hill, a longtime finance executive at iHeartMedia and Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings; Nicholas Bell, CEO of Fanatics Live, formerly a top exec at Google’s Search Experience, Snap and News Corp.; David E. Glazek, partner at Standard General and adjunct professor at Columbia Business School, formerly at Lazard Frères and Blackstone Group; and Tiago Lourenço, partner at Blantyre Capital, formerly at Oaktree Capital, Goldman Sachs and Bain.

The nation’s biggest movie theater advertising network filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas in April. It’s the same court where Regal parent Cineworld was also restructuring. NCM tussled with Regal during the process as the giant chain looked to rework a long-term agreement. NCM was originally launched by Regal, AMC Entertainment and Cinemark, who were major shareholders.

The company is now under the ownership of its prepetition secured lenders, with holding company National CineMedia, Inc. retaining a 13.8% stake.

NCM’s financial restructuring has eliminated $1.2 billion of debt and strengthened its capital structure. The company has also entered into a $55-million exit financing facility to fund future growth initiatives.

A special meeting of stockholders earlier this month approved a 1-for-10 reverse stock split, which will boost the share price. It was a condition of the restructuring as the shares risked being delisted from the Nasdaq market without it.

“This important milestone marks the beginning of a new era of growth,” said CEO Tom Lesinski, of the exit from Chapter 11. “With a restructured balance sheet, the most advanced data and advertising solutions in the industry, and access to the biggest moviegoing audiences, we are now positioned to capitalize on new and exciting opportunities. We continue to experience record-breaking box office performance with Barbie and Oppenheimer seen by almost 60 million consumers to date, driving maximum awareness of the power of movies and the cultural conversation that they ignite. With these tailwinds propelling us forward, NCM will continue to unite brands with young, diverse audiences at movie theaters nationwide during the biggest cultural moments of the year.”

National CineMedia shares are up 12.6% at $3.31.

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