In the first initial publicoffering by a major studio in seven years, DreamWorks Animation raised $812myesterday (26), far higher than analysts expected.

While the projected range of shares was $23 to $25 per share, theIPO priced shares at $28 per share, according to reports.

Riding high on the recent success of Shrek 2, which has grossed more than $875mworldwide, and Shark Tale, which has amassed more than $136m at the US box office to date,DreamWorks Animation sold 25 million shares and shareholders sold 4 millionshares.

The offering gives DreamWorks Animation a market capitalisation ofroughly $3bn, and cash from the IPO will be used to pay down debt and fund theunit's ambitious production slate of two computer-animated picture a year.

DreamWorks Animation will be controlled by Jeffrey Katzenberg andDavid Geffen, while DreamWorks co-founder Steven Spielberg will not sit on theboard. Former Pepsi Co chairman and chief executive officer Roger Enrico willbe chairman.

The animation unit's clearest rival is Pixar, the house ofanimated hits whose latest picture The Incredibles opens in he US on Nov 5. DreamWorks isreleasing Shrek 2 onvideo the same day.

Pixar has a market capitalisation of $4.5bn and its distributioncontract with the Walt Disney Co expires after it delivers The Incredibles and Cars, which is expected next year.

The last IPO bya major studio was MGM in 1997.