RealD Finalizes $551 Million Buyout


Note: This story has been updated to correct the description of RealD’s products and include comments from analyst Eric Wold.

Private equity firm Rizvi Traverse Management has completed its $551 million acquisition of RealD Inc. of Beverly Hills, a maker of 3-D viewing systems for the movie industry.

RealD went public in 2010, riding high off the success of 3-D movie “Avatar.” Shortly after, the company had a market capitalization of nearly $2 billion.

But things have gone south since then. Eric Wold, an analyst at the San Francisco office of West L.A. investment bank B. Riley & Co., said in November that it has been especially challenging for RealD to divert into new growth areas while enduring constant pressure of meeting quarterly expectations.

For instance, its Luxe 3-D movie theater division has failed to catch on without the backing of major U.S. exhibitors, said Wold.

RealD will now go private as part of the acquisition.

Rizvi Traverse of Birmingham, Mich. bought RealD for $11 a share, a 4.1 percent premium on the company’s stock at the time the deal was announced in November. RealD rejected a $12 a share takeover bid by New York investment firm Starboard Value in 2014, which owned a 10 percent stake in the company. The deal would have represented a 29 percent premium on RealD’s stock at the time.

RealD founder Michael Lewis will continue to serve as chief executive officer.

“As a private company, RealD will have the flexibility and resources to further invest in our continued cinema leadership and visual technology innovation,” Lewis said in a November statement when the deal was announced.

RealD posted a net loss of $4.3 million, or -8 cents a share, on $50.4 million in revenue for its third fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31.

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