The nation's oldest and largest family owned movie theater chain, Wehrenberg, has been acquired by Markus Theatres based out of Milwaukee.
Generations of St. Louis movie fans are familiar with the famous pre movie video, whispering the company name "Wehrenberg, Wehrenberg."
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Wehrenberg Theatres is the oldest family-owned and operated theatre circuit in the United States, with 197 screens at 14 locations in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. Upon completion of the transaction, Marcus Theatres will increase its number of screens by 29%, operating 885 screens at 68 locations in eight states.
The transaction is targeted to be completed in December 2016, subject to customary closing conditions, consents and approvals.
The late Ronald P. Krueger inherited Wehrenberg Theatres in 1963 at the age of 22. Ron and his wife, Midge, operated the chain for many years and were very active in the St. Louis community. They strongly supported charities such as Will Rogers Foundation, Variety – The Children’s Charity of St. Louis, The Salvation Army, Shriners Hospital for Children and many others.
“We are pleased Marcus Theatres will carry on the dedication to our customers and communities that has been a hallmark of Wehrenberg Theatres since 1906. Our two companies share the same philosophy – providing customers with the best entertainment experience possible. We were fortunate to find another family-led circuit which also understands the extra commitment it takes to serve our neighborhoods,” said William E. (Bill) Menke, president of Wehrenberg Theatres.
The 14 Wehrenberg Theatres locations include nine in the Greater St. Louis area; one each in Cape Girardeau and Lake Ozark, Missouri; one in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; one in Rochester, Minnesota; and one in Bloomington, Illinois. In conjunction with the acquisition, Marcus Theatres will acquire the underlying real estate for six of the theatre locations, as well as Ronnie’s Plaza, an 84,000 square foot retail center located at 5320 S. Lindbergh Blvd. in St. Louis.