Two brothers at helm of embattled Cineworld chain have received nearly £26m in pay over last eight years – almost same as firm’s current value
Superstar: Brad Pitt at the premiere for Bullet Train
The two brothers at the helm of the embattled Cineworld chain have received nearly £26million in pay over the last eight years – almost the same as the firm’s current value.
Mooky and Israel Greidinger have each been paid massive sums since joining Cineworld’s board in 2014.
The company is now facing the threat of bankruptcy.
The cinema giant shelled out £1.4 million to chief executive Mooky in 2021, which included a bonus of £646,000.
Israel, who is deputy CEO, received £1.2million for the same period.
The huge packages were paid out despite the company posting a pre-tax loss of roughly £600million in 2021.
The brothers guided Cineworld to the brink of insolvency after the firm entered the Covid-19 pandemic with huge debts and was then forced to shut its cinema complexes for months at a time.
Its debt pile totals more than £4billion and, in addition, the company has racked up an £800million legal bill due to its high-profile court defeat after abandoning a planned takeover of the Canadian group Cineplex.
The risk of a collapse of Cineworld has led to critics pointing the finger at the bloated pay packets received by the brothers – particularly as creditors face substantial losses in any restructuring process.
Argonaut Capital Partners’ Barry Norris, who holds a short position in Cineworld, told The Mail on Sunday that the brothers have been able to get away with paying themselves vast amounts despite the ‘company losing billions and getting furlough money’.
He said: ‘These guys were taking money out in the good times. And in the bad times they were still paying themselves well. One of the things I can’t get my head around is how you could preside over such a disaster and not have resigned yet.’
The company’s share price dived after it was revealed that it could be just weeks away from filing for bankruptcy.
The chain, which has 128 cinemas in the UK, has seen its market value plunge to just £31million.
Its problems have escalated since it said earlier this month that a lack of big-budget movies was damaging admissions. Hollywood has been releasing fewer blockbusters than usual in recent times – although Brad Pitt’s new film Bullet Train opened earlier this month.
Cineworld has warned that it needs more cash and it has admitted considering a large capital restructuring to save the business.
A source close to the process warned that Cineworld’s creditors, including Cineplex, could lose out. ‘There’s going to be a significant haircut here for everybody,’ the source told the MoS.
Cineworld said last week it was ‘in discussions with many of its major stakeholders including its secured lenders and their legal and financial advisers’.
The company did not respond to requests for comment.