Cineworld Group has drafted in a team of City advisers to help steer it through talks about a restructuring of its vast debt mountain amid doubts about its survival prospects.
Sky News understands that the stricken multiplex operator, which has mothballed hundreds of cinemas in the UK and US, has in recent days appointed AlixPartners to work with the company.
The move comes weeks after a syndicate of Cineworld’s lenders appointed FTI Consulting and Houlihan Lokey to negotiate with the company over its $8bn (£6.1bn) of debt.
PJT Partners is also working with Cineworld on options to see it through the coronavirus pandemic.
The company’s shares were sent plummeting by confirmation of the temporary closure of roughly 660 sites in the UK and US.
Lenders are expected to raise the prospect of a company voluntary arrangement, an insolvency mechanism that would pave the way for some permanent cinema closures.
The survival of Cineworld and other cinema operators has been cast into doubt by the duration and intensity of the coronavirus crisis, with the delay to key film releases seen as a tipping point for the industry’s finances.
No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond, was due to open next month but has been pushed back by MGM, the studio behind it, until next April.
45,000 employees are affected by the mothballing plan, although the number of permanent redundancies remains unclear.
The chain has seen its balance sheet particularly hard-hit because of the debt-fuelled acquisition spree which has transformed it into one of the world’s largest cinema operators over the last decade.
Cineworld and AlixPartners declined to comment on Thursday.