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Lights, camera, action: Movie software company rolls out IPO

Everyone’s heard of Peter Jackson, most know Weta Workshop. Now film industry software company Vista Group is looking for its spot in the limelight, with a stock exchange listing announced for early August.

The company, which has a variety of software products, from cinema management to film distribution to analytics (big data on movie goers and their habits), is looking to raise $40 million in a duel listing on both sides of the Tasman. Existing shareholders also want to sell up to $60m-worth of their own stock.

Vista was founded in 1996 with one cinema customer. Eighteen years later, founder and CEO Murray Holdaway says the company has software in more than 3000 theatres in 60 countries, and its product generates over one billion cinema tickets a year. 

The copmany made almost $9m in profits last year, up marginally from 2012. Turnover topped $38.6m. On the negative side, new investors won’t get a dividend payment until at least 2016, Holdaway says, with the money saved being used to grow the business.

Proceeds from the capital raising will be used to repay debt associated with the acquisition of stakes in data analytics and campaign management software provider, Movio, and film distribution software supplier MACCS, Holdaway says, as well as boosting its shareholding in both companies.

There will also be capital for devlopment of cloud-based management system Veezi, and on future acquisitions. 

The Vista Group announcement comes at an interesting time for tech floats. The market has been volatile over the last few months, and trading has been mixed in recently listings.

Corporate travel booking software company Serko has yet to reach its $1.10 June 24 listing price, but utilities software company Gentrack, which had its debut a day later, has risen steadily from its $2.40 listing price to over $2.70 today. 

And there will be other tech stock floats competing with Vista for investor capital over the next couple of months, including measurement software company ikeGPS and fleet management business eRoad

Vista expects the listing price to be between $2.10 and $2.70 per share, giving an indicative market capitalisation of $172.6m- $208.4m, which implies a FY15 Price/NPATA multiple of 20.2x – 24.4x.

The offer will open on July 17, and the proposed listing date is August 11.

Chief editor at Idealog, Nikki's a veteran in the journalism industry. A former lecturer at AUT University, she was the chief reporter at NZ weekly business publication The Independent and was deputy editor of Canadian publication Unlimited magazine.

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