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Imax dispels report on pending sale to Sony

December 31, 2010 |  1:40 pm

Imax Corp. knocked down a report on New Year's Eve that Sony Corp. was preparing to make a bid for the Canadian-based theater company.

Shares of Imax rose as high as 20% on Friday following a report in Britain's Daily Mail that Sony was about to make a bid for Imax at more than $40 a share -- about 40% above the company's current share price, which closed Friday at $28.05. The report, without citing sources, also said Walt Disney Co. might be interested in Imax, known for its big-screen technology.

But Imax issued a statement throwing cold water on such speculation. "IMAX Corporation is not aware of any corporate developments to account for this activity,'' the company said. "The Company's policy is not to comment on rumors or speculation, and accordingly does not intend to comment further."

A spokesman for Sony Corp. declined to comment and a representative from Walt Disney Co. was not immediately available.

After struggling with losses, Imax has been enjoying a surge in business over the last two years in response to growing demand for 3-D screens and high-quality digital cinema. The Mississauga, Canada-based Imax, which has more than 440 theaters worldwide, has been expanding rapidly in countries such as Russia and China.

This fall, Imax unveiled a major expansion of its joint-venture agreement with Regal Entertainment Group, the nation's largest theater chain, adding another 16 to 25 Imax theaters to Regal's circuit.

-- Richard Verrier