AMC Entertainment Holdings said Thursday it had completed a previously announced “at-the-market” equity sale for 43 million shares.

What Happened: The movie theater chain raised nearly $428 million in fresh equity capital before taking into account commissions and fees at an average price of $9.94 per share, as per a statement.

AMC CEO Adam Aron said, “Bringing in an additional $428 million of new equity capital will immediately buttress and fortify our liquidity profile.”

“The additional cash raised puts AMC in a stronger position to tackle the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead.”

AMC shares closed 23.74% higher at $12.77 on Thursday in the regular session and gained 0.78% in the after-hours session. The stock’s 52-week low is $1.91.

Why It Matters: Previously, AMC abandoned a proposal to issue 500 million new shares, but opted to go ahead with the sale of 43 million shares saying it would be sufficient to meet its cash needs for 2021.

The chain was hit hard by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but is riding on hopes of a recovery in movie theater attendance in the second half of the year.

Last week, AMC reported first-quarter earnings per share of negative $1.42, missing the estimate of negative $1.26. Quarterly revenue came in at $147.4 million, below the estimate of $153.61 million.

AMC is considered to be a meme stock favored by retail investors and was short squeezed by the Reddit investor forum r/WallStreetBets. Other meme stocks include GameStop and Nokia.

AMC has attracted 1,648 mentions on WallStreetBets making it the most discussed on the forum followed by GME and Tesla, as per Quiver Quantitative data.

This story originally appeared on Benzinga. © 2021

Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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