Unless you count information technology and big data among your interests, there's a good chance that before MoviePass launched its $10 a month unlimited moviegoing service, you'd never heard of Helios and Matheson Analytics. MoviePass' parent company has been defined by the service and seen its fortunes rise and fall with it. Now Helios and Matheson Analytics is distancing itself from the beleaguered service by spinning off MoviePass into its own company.
The move would see MoviePass become its own separate, publicly traded company, apart from Helios and Matheson, which is a data analytics firm that has other ventures beyond the entertainment realm that has defined it. The new vertically integrated MoviePass would be focused on film production, marketing and exhibition, and would be comprised of MoviePass Inc., MoviePass Films, MoviePass Ventures and Moviefone.
Logistically, the way this move will work is that a new subsidiary called MoviePass Entertainment Holdings will take over shares of MoviePass and Helios and Matheson's other film assets. MoviePass Entertainment Holdings will then pursue its own listing on the Nasdaq. As reported by Deadline, the plan has already been given preliminary approval by Helios and Matheson's board of directors.
There are still regulatory hurdles to clear for this plan to become a reality. The spinoff will require approval of the SEC, as well as the state of Delaware where Helios and Matheson is incorporated. The move would also require approval from the Nasdaq.
In the press release announcing the move, the CEO of Helios and Matheson, Ted Farnsworth, acknowledged that Helios and Matheson has become synonymous with MoviePass, and that this move would help distinguish between the two in the eyes of the public, and thus benefit perception.
MoviePass' financial struggles and frequent changes to stay afloat have damaged its reputation in the eyes of subscribers and the market in general. As if that wasn't difficult enough, MoviePass now has legal issues to contend with. Just days before this spinoff announcement, news came out that the New York State Attorney General's office is investigating Helios and Matheson for possibly misleading investors about MoviePass.
So you can understand the thinking behind this move. Helios and Matheson is a company with other ventures beyond MoviePass, but the subscription service and its many problems have come to define the company and that impacts other parts of Helios' business. MoviePass' woes impart a negative public perception that affects Helios and Matheson as a whole by making the company seem like a risky investment, which damages its stock price.
In other words, by spinning off MoviePass, Helios and Matheson can remove that MoviePass stigma and distance itself from that service's many problems. This move seems to make sure that should MoviePass sink completely, it won't drag Helios and Matheson down with it. By doing this, Helios and Matheson hopes to rescue its cratering stock. The announcement has already had an effect too with HMNY shares jumping 42%.