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China’s Bona Poised to Raise $215 Million Through Local IPO

Chinese film producer and distributor, Bona Film Group is poised to raise $215 million through an initial public offering on one of China’s stock markets.

The company is expected to be valued at upwards of $2.4 million, according to Chinese news agency CGTN. That compares with just under $816 million (RMB5 billion) when the company took itself off the NASDAQ market in mid-2016.

The company provided details of its finances and its recent fund-raising in a prospectus filed at the end of last week with the China Securities Regulatory Commission. The company expects to be granted a listing on the Shenzhen A share market, but the precise timing is still the decision of the regulator.

Since taking itself off the U.S. stock market, Bona has engaged in two private funding rounds, in December 2016, and another in March this year. Those share placings brought in Alibaba, Tencent and Wanda as minority investors and provided the latest company valuation. Their stakes after the IPO will drop to 7.0%, 4.4% and 1.7% respectively.

Company founder, Yu Dong is expected to see his shareholding cut as a result of the flotation, from 35% at present to some 23%. Nevertheless, the relaunch is a huge personal gain for Yu.

He quickly became dissatisfied with his bold decision in 2010 to become the first Chinese film company to have a share float in the U.S. When other Chinese movie empires, with less impressive track records, were able to leap-frog his company, due to much higher valuations for media companies in China, he took the decision to quit the U.S. capital markets.

The company, however, is not expecting to follow that with an exit from Hollywood, despite the well-publicized problems Chinese companies are currently enduring with overseas acquisitions and investments.

Two years ago, Bona had a slate financing deal with Chip Seelig’s The Seelig Group to bankroll a selection of 20th Century Fox movies. In May this year, it set up another fund jointly with CAA, and is currently also opening a U.S. office.

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