China's Bona Film Group to Start Trading Thursday on the Nasdaq

Film investment, production and distribution company raised $99.5 million during IPO.


HONG KONG -- Shares in Beijing-based Bona Film Group are set to start trading on Thursday on the NASDAQ stock exchange in New York.

The Chinese film investment, production and distribution company run by CEO Yu Dong priced its shares at $8.50 each, at the upper end of the expected range of $7- $9.

In an initial float, Bona sold 11.7 million primary American Depositary Shares to raise $99.5 million, short of the $121.5 million goal set in its Nov. 17 filing papers.

The company, which has lost $7.5 million this year, is in the process of promoting a U.S. release of What Women Want, starring Gong Li in a Chinese language remake of the 2000 film starring Helen Hunt and Marisa Tomei.

Bona's U.S. listing is the latest in a raft of high-profile Chinese media company's sales overseas, including that of China's largest online video sharing web site, Youku, which raised an initial $203 million on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday then saw its shares jump 161% in the biggest U.S. IPO gain in five years.

Founded in 1999, Bona has -- after the state-run China Film Group -- dominated the recent boom in China's box office with a 14% share of the market. Its hit titles include director Teddy Chan's 2009 film Bodyguards and Assassins.

The Bona IPO was underwritten by B of A Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan in New York, the China Investment Capital Corp. in Beijing, and U.S. backers Piper Jaffray and Cowen and Co.

Though Bona, which was capitalized at $92.3 million as of Sept. 30, only got into film production two years ago helped by the efforts of Jeffrey Chan, a Hong Kong film industry veteran, the company's 12 films in 2009 racked up more 450 million yuan ($68 million), industry estimates show.