Imax turns down Elevation offer

Movie theatre chain Imax announced that it had turned down multiple buyout bids, including one from private equity firm Elevation Partners, rejecting the offers as too small.

Toronto-based Imax announced in a conference call with investors that it had rejected several buyout bids, including one from private equity firm Elevation Partners, due in part to the insufficient “size of the equity cheque,” according to Imax co-CEO Richard Gelfond.

Despite the fact that the many offers Imax has received since it went up for sale in March didn’t meet with its expectations, company executives said that the company still hasn’t closed the door on a possible deal.

“While we are surprised at the high level of interest we initially saw has yet to result in a partnership or acquisition, we are committed to fully exploring all options open to the company, including those offers that did not meet the board’s original valuation parameters,” said Gelfond and co-CEO Bradley Wechsler in a statement.

Imax, founded in 1967, specializes in large-format conventional and 3-D presentations of theatrical films, on screens up to 120 feet wide and eight stories high.

Recent bidders included Elevation, Japanese entertainment giant Sony—which owns the movie studio Sony Pictures Entertainment—and South Korean theatre chain CJCGV, according to news reports, which also said that the company had expected offers in the $600 million to $700 million (€470 million to €548 million) range.

Banks insisted that buyers would have to invest $300 million of their own money in order to buy Imax at the value the company wanted, said Wechsler on the investor conference call. This may have had a cooling effect on the bids themselves, as the bidders “wanted to see more accomplished before they wrote that size cheque,” said Gelfond.

Elevation Partners, a New York-based private equity firm that includes U2 frontman Bono (née Paul Hewson) and Silver Lake Partners co-founders Roger McNamee and Marc Bodnick as founding partners, acquired a sizable minority stake in media company Forbes earlier this week.