KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ AMC Entertainment Inc. and Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp. have ceased talks about a merger that would have created a theater chain giant.

Kansas City-based AMC and Loews' parent company, Toronto-based Onex Corp., offered no explanation in statements Thursday of why the talks had broken off. In November, the companies announced they had started preliminary talks on a possible ``business combination.''

Loews Cineplex has about 280 theaters in the United States, Canada, Spain and South Korea, while AMC has more than 230 theaters in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. Onex is one of Canada's largest companies with global operations in service, manufacturing and technology industries.

The merged operation would have had 6,342 screens, surpassing the current leader, Regal Entertainment Group of Knoxville, Tenn., which has 6,119 screens.