Amazon.com is in the running to acquire Landmark Theaters, a move that would vault the e-commerce giant into the brick-and-mortar cinema industry, according to people familiar with the situation.
The company is vying with other suitors to acquire the business from Wagner/Cuban Cos., which is backed by billionaires Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.
The chain’s owners have been working with investment banker Stephens Inc. on a possible sale, the people said.
No final decisions have been made, and talks still could fall apart.
Pushing into movie theaters would follow Amazon’s expansion into myriad other forms of media, including a film and TV studio and music service.
With Landmark, it gets a chain focused on independent and foreign movies with more than 50 theaters in 27 markets, including high-profile locations in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Landmark’s theaters are known for art-house fare, and some high-end locations include coffee bars or lounges, setting them apart from the typical movie experience.
“This is probably a move to get broader distribution of film content,” said Leo Kulp, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets. “Netflix had been discussed as a potential buyer of Landmark for a similar reason.”
Amazon, based in Seattle, declined to comment. Officials at Landmark did not respond.