April 19, 2012, 4:26 PM

Digital marketing firm Acquity Group files for an IPO

The company plans to use the money for expansion, including in China.

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Acquity Group has filed for an initial public offering that could raise at least $38 million that the Hong Kong-based digital marketing firm would use for acquisitions, expansion in North America and Europe, and what it calls “strategic investments” in China.

“As part of our China strategy, we have focused on building our presence and capabilities in the sportswear market,” the filing reads. “We recently entered into a joint venture relating to k121.com, a leading Internet retailing website for sportswear products in China, which sells brands such as Nike, Adidas and Kappa. We plan to introduce other global sports brands to consumers in China through this platform.

Acquity has been involved in several recent e-retailing activities. That includes the U.S. debut earlier this year of China-based shoe brand Li-Ning at Li-Ning.com and the launch of e-commerce for Radio Flyer, the maker of kids’ scooters, wagons, tricycle and bicycles.

According to the filing, Acquity’s revenue increased approximately 47% in 2011, to $106.7 million from $72.6 million in 2010. Gross profit increased 47%, to $46.1 million last year from $31.4 million in 2010. Last year the company posted a net profit of $8.3 million after losses of $3.4 million in 2010 and $100,000 in 2009.

The company plans to list under the symbol AQ on the New York Stock Exchange. According to a filing with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, Acquity could issue nearly 5.6 million shares—technically, American depository shares, which is the vehicle through which foreign firms list on a U.S. stock market—at $8 to $10 each. After commissions and other expenses are deducted, Acquity expects net proceeds of $38 million, the filing says.

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