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Prime Focus eyes $150 mn in US share sale

Hollywood studios' use of the company, like Avatar, should help create buzz

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Ltd , a film services company that was instrumental in making such movies as director James Cameron's "Avatar" and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan's "My Name is Khan," plans to raise $150 million (Rs 813 crore) in a U.S. later this year, three sources said on Tuesday.

& Co and Deutsche Bank AG are advising Prime Focus on the planned sale of American depositary receipts, the sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The Mumbai-based company plans to use the money to fund expansion of its U.S. operations, the sources said.

Prime Focus was not immediately available for comment. JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

Demand for Prime Focus' low-cost post-production, visual effects and other services has grown over the last few years. Hollywood studios' use of the company and others like it is also inspiring Bollywood to experiment more with special effects and other technologies, further feeding demand.

Prime Focus supplied 3D visual effects and motion graphic design for "Avatar," according to its website.

Its portfolio of work also includes Hollywood films such as Paramount Pictures' "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra"; broadcast shows such as chef Gordon Ramsay's "Gordon Behind Bars"; music videos such as Madonna's "Girl Gone Wild" and Radiohead's "Lotus Flower"; and Bollywood movies including "No One Killed Jessica" and "Agent Vinod."

The company, little known outside its markets, began in 1997 in a garage in Mumbai with four team members. It first went public in 2006 on the Bombay and National stock exchanges in India, and subsequently bought companies in the United Kingdom and the United States. Its UK unit, Prime Focus London Plc, is listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange.

Prime Focus now employs about 4,500 people.

The depositary receipts are likely to list on Nasdaq, but a final decision has not yet been made, one of the sources said.


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