Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 Posted by Jim Thacker

The Carlyle Group to sell The Foundry in 2015?

The Foundry’s 2014 demo reel. Investment firm The Carlyle Group, which holds a majority stake in the company, is expected to sell it off next year for “up to £200 million”, according to the UK’s Sunday Times.

Private equity firm The Carlyle Group is looking to sell The Foundry next year for “up to £200 million”, according to a story in the UK’s Sunday Times.

The Carlyle Group acquired a majority stake in The Foundry in 2011.

The news was confirmed – or at least not denied – on The Foundry’s forum by President of the Americas Brad Peebler, who commented:

“Are we for sale? Look, when owned by private equity, the only certainty is that an ‘exit’ will happen … It is natural for us all to assume that one day Carlyle will sell their shares.”

Another Autodesk buyout in the making?
The news has prompted a spate of forum threads speculating – usually in negative terms – about an Autodesk or Adobe buyout of The Foundry.

Peebler doesn’t comment on potential buyers directly in his reply, but points out: “Did you know The Foundry has been sold before? A couple times actually and each time it has gotten bigger and stronger.”

Those previous sales include The Foundry’s acquisition in 2007 by Digital Domain’s then owners, Wyndrcrest Holdings – from whom it subsequently bought itself back in a venture-capital-backed management buyout.

At the time, there were also fears about The Foundry’s long-term survival: fears that proved to be unfounded.

However, for those with long memories, the news brings back memories of Alias, which was acquired by private equity firm Accel-KKR in 2004.

The deal gave Alias the resources to acquire original MotionBuilder developer Kaydara the following year, but in 2005, Accel-KKR sold the firm to Autodesk, having tripled its original investment.

It’s hard not to see parallels with The Foundry – which merged with Luxology in 2012, and is reporting steadily increasing annual sales figures.

Or too early to tell?
However, as Brad Peebler points out in his forum post, the truth is that, at this stage, probably no one knows what will happen to The Foundry next year – for good or bad.

“What does this mean for the future? Even I can’t say. But I can tell you that if I have anything to do with it, we’ll be a household name in five years … Now, let’s enjoy the ride, shall we?”

Read The Sunday Times’ original article
(Describes The Foundry as a “special effects team”, but is presumably more accurate on financial details.)

Read Brad Peebler’s full comment on The Foundry’s forums