NEW YORK (AP) _ Imax Corp., maker of the giant movie screens used in museums and science centers, said Thursday it is considering selling the company and has already received several unsolicited offers.
``We think this interest, coupled with our solid fiscal 2005 results and compelling growth opportunities, makes this an ideal time to explore our options,'' Imax Co-Chairmen and Co-Chief Executives Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler said in a statement.
The company's shares rose $1.25, or 13.2 percent, to $10.75 in premarket trading after the news.
Imax, which leases the projection and sound systems to theaters, said it has hired Allen & Co. and investment bank UBS as its financial advisers to consider its alternatives.
Imax said it can't guarantee its decision to consider its options will result in any transaction. The company also said it doesn't plan to disclose developments on the process until its board has approved a specific deal.
The company on Thursday also posted a 54 percent increase in fourth-quarter earnings to $12 million, or 29 cents per share. Revenue grew 4 percent to $49.3 million.
Counting only continuing operations, Imax earned $10.8 million, or 26 cents per share, in line with Wall Street's expectations.
For the full year, Imax's earnings beat its own expectations, growing 62 percent to $16.6 million, or 40 cents per share. Full-year revenue increased 7 percent to $144.9 million.
Imax had been targeting 2005 earnings of 35 cents to 38 cents per share.
Imax, which was founded in 1967 and is headquartered in Toronto, has more than 250 theaters operating in 36 countries. About half are in museums, science centers and other institutions, while the rest are in commercial theaters.
Its films include several science-oriented titles as well as Imax versions of Hollywood movies such as ``The Polar Express'' and ``Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban''