Cineworld, the world’s second largest cinema chain, is preparing to file for bankruptcy after failing to see a quick enough recovery in movie-going since the end of the pandemic.

The London-listed business, which has run up debt of more than $4.8bn (£4bn) after losses soared while cinemas were shut during the global coronavirus crisis, has hired lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis and consultants from restructuring experts AlixPartners to advise on the process.

The company, which operates 751 sites in 10 countries including the Cineworld and Picturehouse chains in the UK, is expected to file a chapter 11 petition in the US and is considering insolvency proceedings in the UK, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Investors bailed out of the stock, leaving it with a share price of 4.5p a piece. However, shareholders have been stepping back for more than a year.

The cinema chain had been hit particularly hard by successive Covid-19 lockdowns. The company has lost some 94 per cent of its share price value over the past 12-months as it sought a pandemic turnaround.

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