Imax seeking buyer at lower price


TORONTO -- Giant-screen exhibitor Imax Corp. on Wednesday said it has told its financial advisers to possibly secure a sale of the company at a lower price than originally sought earlier this year during a failed formal sales process.

Toronto-based Imax, which reported a steep loss Wednesday due to fewer theater installations during its most recent third quarter, said in a statement that it has told Allen & Company and investment bank UBS to possibly identify a buyer for the company "at a lower valuation than originally sought."

Imax in August saw its stock plunge after it revealed it had failed to find a buyer at the right sales price during a formal sales process begun last March, and that it was the subject of an SEC probe into its accounting policies.

"As part of this ongoing process, the company remains committed to exploring additional interest as appropriate," Imax said ahead of a conference call with analysts this Thursday morning.

During that call, Imax is expected to further outline future plans to distribute Imax films in the digital format, and increase its use of joint ventures to launch new theaters.

During the third quarter, Imax reported a loss $11.98 million during the three months to September 30, against earnings of $2.3 million in 2005, on sharply lower revenues of $20.7 million, against a year-earlier $33.3 million.

The culprit was systems revenues, which fell to $7.3 million during the third quarter as Imax installed only one theater system, against $20.2 million in 2005 when Imax recognized revenue on six theater systems.

Imax also reported Wednesday that it was cooperating with "informal inquiries" from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Ontario Securities Commission into how it times its revenue recognition.