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Imax shares rise on rumors of sale

Company denies report of Sony's interest

Shares of Imax Corp. soared 7% Friday on a U.K. report that Sony Corp. is considering a bid for the giant-screen company.

Toronto-based Imax knocked down the report in the Daily Mail.

Citing anonymous sources, the paper reported Friday that Imax chief executive Richard Gelfond and chairman Bradley Wechsler were believed to be pushing for a sale to Sony at $40 a share. The article also said Disney could be a bidder.

Shares of Imax rose $1.80 to $28.66 in trading on the Nasdaq after trading as high as $32.30.

Imax responded to the price increase as a result of a request from the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada on behalf of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

“Imax Corp. is not aware of any corporate developments to account for this activity,” the company said in the statement. “The company’s policy is not to comment on rumors or speculation, and accordingly does not intend to comment further.”

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Sony and Disney could not be reached for comment.

In October, Imax cited the success from “Inception” in reporting third-quarter revenues had risen to $51.1 million, up 17% from the same sesh in 2009.

“The performance of ‘Inception’ demonstrated how our fans seek out Imax because it is the best way to experience a movie, whether in 2D or 3D,” Gelfond said at the time.

The company’s year-to-date earnings, ending Sept. 30, were also up 17% over the previous year, totaling $179.5 million vs. the $117 million earned in 2009 as Imax reported an adjusted net income of 81¢ per share during the first nine months, compared to the period’s 15¢ per share the previous year.

Imax also credited its network growth as exhib had added 100 theater contracts vs. the 13 signings during the year-ago period.

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