DreamWorks SKG is planningto sell off its DreamWorks Animation unit in an initial public offering (IPO)of up to $650m in Class A common stock.

The studio said it had filedregistration papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission, however it isunderstood details were not disclosed on the number of shares offered nor theprojected price range of the IPO.

According to the AssociatedPress, DreamWorks said it intends to keep approximately $175m of the netproceeds from the IPO for general corporate purposes, and will use theremaining net proceeds to repay some or all of the debt it will assume fromDreamWorks SKG from the spin-off.

It is believed that the restof Dreamworks would continue as a private company, and would be the most likelydistributor of the Glendale, California-based animation unit's pictures.

Goldman, Sachs and J PMorgan Chase were listed as underwriters of the IPO.

For the three months endedMar 31, DreamWorks reported a net loss of $25.9m and operating revenue of$40.8m. This compares to a net loss of $11.9m and $48.2m revenue for the sameperiod of 2003.

As reported here yesterday(20), the animation unit's latest offering, Shark Tale, which is due to be released by Dreamworks in the USon Oct 1, will receive its North American premiere at Toronto in Septemberafter a world premiere at Venice.

Shrek 2 has grossed more than $730m worldwide to date, faroutstripping the 2001 original, which took more than $470m at the global boxoffice.