'Winx' producer to join IPO club

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LOCARNO, Switzerland -- Rainbow, the production company created to co-produce the big-screen debut of children's television series "Winx Club," has filed the paperwork for an initial public offering on Milan's Italian Stock Exchange.

Italian stock market regulator Consob reported that the company making the €25 million ($34.5 million) 3-D animated "Winx Club, il Segreto di un Regno" (Winx Club, the Secret of a Kingdom) -- along with RAI Fiction and RAI Cinema -- can set the date for the IPO after the application is approved.

The application comes at a time when sluggish economic growth in Italy has slowed the number of public offerings. Consob said the number of IPOs in Italy has declined each of the past four years, and it is expected to decline again this year.

In a statement, Rainbow said it plans to use the cash from the IPO to fund expansion plans but did not release details about the number of shares it will sell or how much it expects to raise.

The €25 million budget for the "Winx" film, Rainbow's only major project to date, is the largest ever for an Italian animated film. Producers say they envision worldwide distribution for the project, which will be released in Italy by 01 Distribution in December. The company has said it expects to produce about one full-length animated feature on the scale of "Winx" per year.
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