09/04/2012 03:14 EDT | Updated 11/04/2012 05:12 EST

China's Wanda Group closes acquisition of US movie chain AMC for US$2.6 billion

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Chinese conglomerate Wanda says it has closed on the acquisition of AMC Entertainment Holdings, one of the largest movie theatre chains in the U.S.

The US$2.6 billion deal is the largest takeover yet of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm. It also makes Wanda the world's largest owner of cinemas.

Dalian Wanda Group Co.'s purchase reflects the global ambitions of cash-rich Chinese companies that are using acquisitions to speed their expansion.

The Beijing-based company said it will invest an additional $500 million in AMC and keep its headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.

AMC operates 338 cinemas. It's owned by a group of private-equity firms.

Last month, AMC announced it would sell four theatres in Canada to Cineplex Inc. (TSX:CGX), while Empire Theatres Ltd., Canada's second-largest theatre chain, scooped up AMC theatres in Kanata, Ont., and Whitby, Ont.

The two remaining AMC theatres in Canada are in Scarborough, Ont. and Concord, Ont.

Wanda, founded in 1988 and privately owned, operates hotels, department stores, tourism and other businesses. It has 94 theatres in China.