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AMC Entertainment prices IPO at $18 per share -underwriter

Dec 17 (Reuters) - Theater group AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc priced its initial public offering of 18.42 million shares at $18 per share, according to an underwriter.

The company, which is the second largest theater group in the United States behind Regal Entertainment Group, raised about $331 million in the offering, valuing the company at $1.71 billion.

The shares were priced at the lower end of the initial range of $18 to $20.

AMC is controlled by Beijing-based Dalian Wanda Group, which is headed by Wang Jianlin, the richest man in China according to Forbes.

Leawood, Kansas-based AMC, which also competes with Cinemark Holdings Inc and Carmike Cinemas Inc, owns, operates or holds interests in 343 theaters with a total of 4,950 screens across the United States as of Sept. 30.