Imagi draws on new investor

Pawley pumps cash into animation house

Imagi, the Hong Kong- and Los Angeles-based animation house responsible for last year’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” has shored up financing for its next generation of CG movies by bringing in a major outside investor.

Company is selling new shares worth HK$311 million ($40 million) to Mark Pawley, former Asia Pacific investment banking head of Credit Suisse First Boston. Share sale gives Pawley 18% of the enlarged company and right to nominate two directors to Imagi’s board.

Imagi, which aims to deliver a movie every eight months, says the proceeds will be used for “the development of four full-length feature computer graphics imagery animation movies scheduled tentatively to be released from 2009 to 2011.”

It is in production on two comicbook adaptations: “Astro Boy” and “Gatchaman.”

Issue price of the new shares is 11¢, or some 40% higher than the average stock price last week. Pawley, who has been talking to the company for more than nine months, is buying through his Oxley Spring Media company.

Last month, Imagi announced that Summit Entertainment will distribute “Astro Boy” worldwide, except for Japan, Hong Kong and China.

It had previously announced that the picture was to be handled jointly by Warner Bros and the Weinstein Co. in a distribution deal.

Imagi’s shares were suspended and did not trade Friday. Trading is skedded to begin again today.

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