Alliance Atlantis Communications (AAC) is raising money to forward its TV ambitions, announcing plans for a public offering of 8million Class B non-voting shares. Based on the July 19 closing price of $13.30 on the US NASDAQ exchange, a fully-subscribed offering would realise $106m.

In a statement AAC said the proceeds will ultimately help the company finance the seven digital speciality channels it's set to launch this autumn. The money will be used to repay indebtedness under its credit facility thus boosting the company's available line of credit.

AAC controls or holds in interests in 18 speciality channels, including seven existing analog channels. The seven new digital channels are Showcase Diva, Showcase Action, Discovery Health Channel, National Geographic Channel, BBC Canada, BBC Kids. The seventh, Independent Film Channel Canada (IFCC), is pending: Alliance Atlantis' purchase of the original IFCC licensee, Halifax-based Salter Street Media, has yet to be approved by the federal broadcast regulator.

The company has minority stakes in four other speciality channels: Scream, The Score, Pride Vision and One: the Body, Mind and Spirit Channel.