SANTA ANA, Calif. – ACME Communications Inc., the owner and operator of nine broadcast television stations, went public September 30, offering 5 million shares at $23 apiece. The company’s stock priced well above its $19 to $21 filing range.
Underwritten by Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown, Merrill Lynch & Co., Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and CIBC World Markets, the initial public offering left 16.8 million shares outstanding. There were no selling shareholders.
Venture backers included BancBoston Ventures Inc., Alta Communications Inc., CEA Capital Partners Inc., TCW Asset Management Co., Peregrine Capital Inc. and Continental Casualty Co.
ACME owns broadcast television stations in mid-size markets in nine states, aggregating about 5.4% of total U.S. television households. Each of the stations is a network affiliate of The WB Television Network.
The company plans to use the expected $105.6 million generated from the IPO to repay debt, fund the acquisition of KSAY and for general corporate purposes, including working capital and future acquisitions.
ACME has never been profitable, losing $7.5 million in 1997 and $21.9 million in 1998.
James Collis, an executive vice president at CEA Management Corp., which manages CEA Capital, and Brian McNeill, the general managing partner at Alta Communications, both joined the company’s board of directors in July.
ACME Communications – Selected Financial
(in thousands, except per share data)
Years Ended December 31 Six Months Ended June 30
1997 1998 1998* 1999*
Total revenue 11,347 43,928 19,327 26,635
Net loss -7,479 -21,940 -11,254 -28,399