(Bloomberg) -- AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. is holding confidential talks with some of its lenders about lowering its debt load and extending near-term maturities, according to people with knowledge of the matter. 

The discussions come as AMC, the world’s largest movie theater chain, is staring down a debt load of about $4.5 billion of long-term borrowings. As of March 31, it had more than $2.8 billion of maturities due in 2026, according to regulatory filings, including a $1.9 billion term loan and nearly $1 billion of second-lien notes. 

Negotiations are ongoing and no final decision has been made, the people said. A representative with AMC declined to comment, while messages left with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, which is representing first-lien lenders, were not returned. 

Pushing out the 2026 maturities has been a focus for the company and some of its creditors. AMC Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron said in a call to discuss quarterly results that the theater chain is working with its lenders to refinance its debt and “we’re hopeful that we can do so on attractive terms.”

AMC last month capitalized on its brief meme stock frenzy to reduce its debt, a playbook it’s before used to help shore up liquidity. It said in a regulatory filing that it reached a private deal to swap about $164 million of its 10% notes due 2026 for 23.3 million shares of newly-issued stock. 

AMC, much of whose debt trades at distressed prices, has been chipping away at its maturities through other swaps and buybacks. The company has been struggling as movie ticket sales remain stubbornly below pre-pandemic levels, and its shares have lost more than 25% this year. 

--With assistance from Eliza Ronalds-Hannon.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.