Chinese Galloping Horse and Indian Reliance buy together US Digital Domain

24 September 2012 23 h 16 min Comments Off

Beijing-based Galloping Horse and India’s Reliance MediaWorks (RMW) have bought together the bankrupt US visual effects studio Digital Domain for $30.2m.

According to a Reliance MediaWorks statement which was published on Monday 24 Serptember, the joint venture, between RMW and Galloping Horse America, LLC, a US subsidiary of the Chinese media company Galloping, managed to outbid other companies in a September 21, 2012 bankruptcy court auction in New York . Galloping Horse (a leading firm in China engaged in film and TV financing, production, distribution, advertising and publishing) owns 75% of the joint venture with RMW, a division of Mumbai-based giant Reliance Group, owning the remaining 25%.

The acquisition covers all of Digital Domain’s assets including its studios in Los Angeles and Vancouver and a co-production stake in the feature Ender’s Game. The businesses will continue to operate in the normal course, with the joint venture assuming ownership upon court approval, the statement added.

Since last year, both companies already have partnerships with Digital Domain: in July 2011, Reliance tied up with the US company to open studios in London and Mumbai, while Beijing Galloping Horse formed a China-based joint venture with Digital Domain that was co-producing animated feature Legend Of Tembo, the first feature from Tradition Studios, Digital Domain’s nascent animation operation.

“This is a great day for Digital Domain,” said Digital Domain CEO Ed Ulbrich. “Our new partners have incredible strength and reach in the global entertainment marketplace. They are powerful strategic partners that understand our business and our clients’ business.”

“We are so pleased that the visual effects businesses will be continued under the strong financial and strategic ownership of Galloping Horse and Reliance,” said Mike Katzenstein, DDMG, Chief Restructuring Officer.

Ivy Zhong, vice chairman and managing director of Beijing Galloping Horse, said: “Digital Domain is a legend in the industry, known for its world-class quality of work and creative talent. We are thrilled to have found a partner in Reliance MediaWorks that is as committed as we are to ensuring Digital Domain’s continued excellence and success.”

“We have had a wonderful working relationship with Digital Domain over the years and we could not be happier to take it further through the joint Galloping Horse — Reliance acquisition. We are looking forward to working with Digital Domain employees and customers to make the operation better and stronger” said Venkatesh Roddam, CEO, Film & Media Services, RMW.

Digital Domain, which was originally founded in 1993 by James Cameron, who no longer has a stake in the company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on September 11 after defaulting on a series of loans. Digital Domain Media has churned out more than 90 movies, including blockbusters such as Titanic, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, the Transformers trilogy and TRON: Legacy. Amid media reports, the company has $14 million in debt but $50.7 million in losses as of 30 June.

The sale is subject to execution of an asset purchase agreement and bankruptcy court approval in the US, the hearing for which is scheduled for Monday.

Sources: rediff.com, screendaily.com, (24/09/2012)

ON CSN:

. Digital Domain Media Group and Beijing Galloping sign China distribution and co-production agreement for The Legend of Tembo

. Digital Domain Media Group and beijing Galloping Horse announce joint venture in China

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