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RealD sells 3-D to Wall Street in planned IPO

RealD Inc. is hoping to raise some real money from Wall Street.

In a regulatory filing, the Beverly Hills-based 3-D company said it hopes to raise $151 million from a public stock offering as early as next week. RealD plans to offer 10.75 million shares -- 6 million from the company and 4.75 million from current shareholders -- at a price range of $13 to $15. The company said it would use its proceeds to repay a $25-million loan, make acquisitions and invest in new technology.

RealD licenses 3-D systems to theaters. Obviously, that's been a pretty good business to be in given Hollywood's infatuation with 3-D, fueled by the box-office success of such movies as "Avatar" and "Alice in Wonderland."

Nonetheless, the company has been losing money since its founding in 2003 and reported in its filing that it posted a net loss of $39.7 million for the the year ended March 26. It blamed the losses on higher costs from marketing and investments in new technology. RealD predicted such losses would be offset by a surge in revenue due to the rapid deployment of 3-D screens by the major theater circuits.

A market leader in the industry, the company's systems, which included adapters that fit onto digital projectors and 3-D glasses, are used in 5,966 theater screens in 51 countries.

J.P. Morgan and Piper Jaffray are the lead underwriters in the IPO.

-- Richard Verrier

 
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