Digital Domain sold to joint Chinese-Indian venture
Chinese firm Galloping Horse America has partnered India’s Reliance MediaWorks to buy Digital Domain.
The companies submitted a bid to acquire the leading VFX studio, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection two weeks ago, for $30.2 million.
Private investment firm Searchlight Capital Partners previously made a ‘stalking horse’ bid of $15 million.
Business as usual?
If the deal – which is subject to court approval – goes through, Galloping Horse and Reliance will acquire Digital Domain’s LA and Vancouver studios, along with Digital Domain Media Group’s other assets.
According to the press statement: “The [studios] will continue to operate in the normal course of business.”
“This is a great day for Digital Domain,” said CEO Ed Ulbrich. “Our new partners have incredible strength and reach in the global entertainment marketplace. We … couldn’t be more pleased with this outcome.”
Digital Domain’s new owners
If the deal is approved, Galloping Horse America – a division of Beijing-based Galloping Horse Film Co. – will take a 70% stake in Digital Domain.
The company works in a number of fields, including film and TV financing, production and distribution; cinema construction; new media and animated content production; talent management; and magazine publishing.
Reliance MediaWorks, which takes the remaining 30% stake, has a similarly broad portfolio, with interests in DI, film restoration, VFX, animation and studio equipment rental; and owns India’s largest cinema chain.
Together, the two companies have a combined enterprise value of over $25 billion.
From partners to owners
Digital Domain had existing relationships with both firms, Screen International reports: with Reliance to open studios in London and Mumbai, and with Galloping Horse to co-produce animated feature Legend Of Tembo.
The latter was being produced out of Digital Domain’s Florida Studio, which was closed earlier this month.