Digital Domain sold to Galloping Horse, Reliance MediaWorks

The visual effects company, founded by James Cameron, says business will continue as usual at its Vancouver and L.A. locations.

Visual effects giant Digital Domain Media Group received the green light from bankruptcy court Monday for last Friday’s $30.2 million auction of its assets.

China’s Galloping Horse Film and TV Co. took home the lion’s share of the company that was founded by James Cameron, buying up 70 per cent, while India’s Reliance MediaWorks partnered with it, buying out the remaining 30 per cent.

Galloping Horse, known for its work in film and TV financing, production and distribution, and Reliance, a film production service provider, originally made separate offers, but eventually teamed up to outbid New York-based Anchorage Capital Group LLC’s $29.7 million offer and Toronto-based Searchlight Capital’s stalking horse bid of $15 million.

“Galloping Horse—Reliance will acquire all assets constituting the businesses of Digital Domain and Mothership – feature film and advertising visual effects, commercial production and virtual humans, studios in California and Vancouver, and a co-production stake in the feature film Ender’s Game,” said the company in a press release.

According to the release, the studios in both California and Vancouver will continue to operate normally.

Digital Domain, which has a long-standing relationship with both companies – Galloping Horse invested in the company and has a co-production stake in The Legend of Tembo, while Reliance has provided post-production services and was listed as one of the company’s unsecured creditors – says the sale will benefit the company.

“Galloping Horse—Reliance gives Digital Domain, a multi-Academy Award-winning digital production studio long established as a pioneer in high-quality visual effects, strong infrastructure and significant financial support,” it said in the release.

Digital Domain, which was founded in 1993, has provided visual effects for more than 90 feature films, including Titanic, Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers and Star Trek, and earlier this year resurrected iconic rapper Tupac Shakur in hologram form at the Coachella music festival.

The company went public last November with an initial public offering of $42 million, but said last month it was looking for ‘strategic alternatives.’

It began winding down operations at its Port St. Lucie, Florida earlier this month, resulting in the termination of about 350 jobs, and dropping the company’s total workforce in California and Vancouver to 733 employees.

Company chairman and CEO John Textor resigned over the Port St. Lucie closure, saying he was in “profound disagreement” with the decision.

Digital Domain officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Sept. 11, and for ancilliary relief in Canada under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) Sept. 18, 2012.