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SimEx Set To Acquire Iwerks

Toronto-based SimEx Inc., a major player in the location-based entertainment industry, has announced that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire Iwerks Entertainment Inc., a leading special venue production firm. SimEx will pay $0.63 per share for Iwerks, which values the deal at approximately $2.2 million. Once the deal is completed, Iwerks will keep its name and continue to work out of its Burbank, California offices, under its current team. This move could be seen as a savior for Iwerks, whose stock was delisted from the Nasdaq this year for not complying with the stock exchange's minimum bid standard. At the end of the trading day on Wednesday, March 7, 2001, Iwerks was selling on the OTC Bulletin Board for $0.5625, up $0.125 from its opening. "The combined companies can serve a wider segment of the market," said Michael Needham, SimEx CEO. "Together, we can meet the objective of becoming a worldwide dominant player in the special venue attraction market. In addition, the combined companies and our valued customer will be able to take advantage of greater cost efficiencies in terms of service and support, film production, film distribution, manufacturing and worldwide marketing." Don Iwerks, chairman of Iwerks Entertainment, said, "I am extremely excited about the synergy of the combined resources of SimEx and Iwerks. The merger will solidify our combined presence in the special venue market providing the very best of hardware and film content. Iwerks' interim CEO Gary Matus, whose background includes successful merger and acquisition experience, has been instrumental in this proposed strategic acquisition. Gary's record of accomplishments, and clear strategic vision, will be a tremendous asset to combined companies. With an Iwerks/SimEx combined network of nearly 120 simulation theatres and a network of 250 large format theatres worldwide, the demand for new films continues to grow. Following a combination of the two companies, Iwerks will work closely with SimEx Digital Studios, headquartered in Santa Monica, California, to accelerate film production and fuel the ongoing creation of world class content for our combined network of theatres." Founded in 1986, Iwerks is the #1 provider of 8/70 large format theater systems worldwide and the leader in ride simulations. Founded in 1984, SimEx created the first simulation attraction, Tour of the Universe at the CN Towers in Toronto, and has recently done projects for Universal Studios, Busch Entertainment Corp. and the National Museum of Science & Technology.

Learn more about SimEx and its eye-popping work in Animation World Magazine's article.

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Rick DeMott
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