Platinum Studios filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week for the sale of shares by some of its current shareholders, and announced its plans to go public. Assuming the company finds a market maker, the publicly traded shares will be traded on over the counter bulletin boards as a penny stock; the offering price will not exceed $.10 per share. The company is not filing to sell any new shares to the public as part of this offering.
The shareholders selling shares include a lengthy list of stockholders who participated in a private placement last fall that raised around $4.9 million for the company, and CEO Scott Rosenberg's mother, who loaned her son around $1.6 million (plus interest) for Platinum; that loan was converted to equity in July.
The offering included a lengthy list of risks for shareholders, and a 'going concern' notice because the company is funding operations by raising capital, and is experiencing negative cash flows from operations.
Platinum is publishing comics and graphic novels this year (see 'Platinum Plans 60 07 Releases'), operates DrunkDuck.com, a Webcomics site it acquired last year (see 'Platinum Studios Acquires DrunkDuck.com'), and is active in acquiring properties and developing them for feature films and other uses (for example, it has rights to the Top Cow library, which it acquired for an initial payment of $350,000 in 2004'). It sold two properties this year: Unique, to Disney Studios, and Cowboys & Aliens to Dreamworks and Universal (see 'Iron Man Scribes Tackle Cowboys & Aliens'). It is also developing a slate of eight low-budget films ($6-$8 million); Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is the first film in that slate.
The filing also revealed more about Platinum's current operations and plans than has been previously known. DrunkDuck.com is reported to have over 30 million page views per month of its 8,000 strips/stories. Platinum plans to develop a network of sites around Drunk Duck that will offer Webcomics, comic news, streaming electronic comics (3-5 minute comic-based animations), and casual games.
Other properties identified for its slate of low-budget theatrical films include Witchblade, The Darkness, The Hunter, Ghosting, Hive, Mal Chance, and Blood Nation.
Several TV projects are also in the works, including Down, based on the Warren Ellis Top Cow property, whichwill be directed by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) and written by Raphael Alverez (The Wire); Rising Stars (J. Michael Straczynski), being developed by Sam Raimi as a mini-series; and Utopia, being developed as a half-hour sitcom by Gina Matthews and Phil Stark.
The financial statements in the filing confirm that additional financing will be needed for Platinum to survive. It had only $423,000 in cash on its balance sheet as of June 30th, and its burn for the previous six months was roughly $1.5 million in losses. The company did bring in around $1.5 million during that period in rights sales, presumably for Unique and Cowboys & Aliens, although that wasn't specified that we could see.
Expertise for the penny stock strategy appears to be coming from COO Brian Altounian, who has been President of Platinum since last September. He's served on the boards of a number of companies whose stocks are traded in the over the counter market.