Noam Galai / Contributor via Getty
AMC, the movie theater operator whose stock price has fluctuated wildly over the last year after being turned into a meme stock, has announced it is purchasing a 22 percent stake in Hycroft Mining, a gold and silver mine in Nevada.“Our strategic investment being announced today is the result of our having identified a company in an unrelated industry that appears to be just like AMC of a year ago,” Adam Aron, the CEO of AMC, said in a statement. “It, too, has rock-solid assets, but for a variety of reasons, it has been facing a severe and immediate liquidity issue. Its share price has been knocked low as a result. We are confident that our involvement can greatly help it to surmount its challenges — to its benefit, and to ours."
According to the press release, AMC is joining with another investor, Eric Sprott, to put a combined $56 million into Hycroft. Aron said this includes only a “nominal amount of AMC cash” but allows Hycroft to begin tapping its estimated 15 million ounces of gold and 600 million ounces of silver resources. This means AMC is now a movie theater chain / gold mine investor.One of the reasons Hycroft is facing a “severe and immediate liquidity issue” as Aron put it is because investors are skeptical that gold and silver at the mine can actually be mined profitably. A 2021 Seeking Alpha report noted the company has several “red flags” that mostly have to do with the mineral composition making the rocks difficult to process. Seeking Alpha said there are “numerous challenges to achieve adequate gold recovery rates.” The “Investor Takeaway” concluded that “Hycroft Mining is pretty cheap compared to peers at the moment, but I think its valuation could fall lower due to the high debt load as well as the stock dilution risk. It’s possible this one is close to worthless.”But AMC doesn’t see it that way, according to the press release, because it believes it can prove a valuable partner to Hycroft due to its “success in having raised capital in 2020 and 2021,” referring to the meme stock craze.“Now, we are taking AMC’s demonstrated achievement in writing the play book as to how to navigate through liquidity challenge and applying our lessons learned to another entity in Hycroft Mining,” Aron said in the press release. “With Hycroft’s 15 million ounces of gold resources and 600 million ounces of silver resources, we believe our efforts here will be quite lucrative for AMC shareholders."As of this writing, Hycroft’s stock is up from a low of 33 cents a week ago to $1.78. AMC’s stock is down.