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Report: Smile Brands Halts IPO

Santa Ana-based dental services provider Smile Brands Group Inc. is dropping plans for an initial public stock offering, according to a Reuters report citing an undisclosed underwriter.

The operator of Bright Now Dental and other brands had been looking to raise $130 million after expenses in an offering.

Smile is yet to file a formal withdraw of its offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It’s unclear whether the company might just seek to postpone an offering amid volatility on Wall Street that’s caused others to pull back on offerings.

The change in plans by Smile came after its shares were likely to price below what the company expected, according to Reuters.

Smile was set to price at $14 a share, below an expected range of $16 to $18, according to the story.

The company, which has annual revenue of about $455 million, had stood to be the biggest Orange County public offering since 2007, when Mission Viejo-based nursing home operator Ensign Group Inc. went public and raised $64 million.

Freeman, Spogli & Co., a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, is Smile Brands’ major shareholder. Other investors include the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

Smile had planned to sell 7.35 million shares and use the proceeds to redeem preferred stock and pay loans.

The company provides support services to more than 1,100 dentists and hygienists in 300 offices.

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