Deal’s in the works

SimEx set to buy large-format firm Iwerks

Large-format film company Iwerks Entertainment said Tuesday that it has inked a letter of intent to be acquired by privately held SimEx in a deal valued at $2.2 million in stock.

Toronto-based SimEx builds special-venue attractions that feature large-format film projection, simulation technology and themed environments. Among its simulations is the New York Skyride at the Empire State Building.

As part of the deal, SimEx plans to buy Iwerks at 63¢ a share, a premium over Iwerks’ Monday stock price of 25¢. It closed at 44¢ a share Tuesday on the news.

Deal helps keep Burbank-based Iwerks, a smaller player than its large-format film rival Imax Corp., from completely shuttering or filing for bankruptcy protection, as the once-successful company has been mired in money woes.

Iwerks reported a net loss of $184,000 for its second quarter ended Dec. 31 on revenues of $6.8 million. That compares with a net loss of $1.9 million on revenues of $9.2 million for the same period a year earlier.

Iwerks operates more than 250 ride simulations and other attractions in theme parks, movie theaters, casinos, shopping centers, restaurants and museums in nearly 40 countries.

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