Buena Vista Games Inc. (BVG) announced two major business deals to strengthen the company's internal game development capabilities and further its goals of becoming a top tier publisher of handheld and console games. The deals include the acquisition of acclaimed Salt Lake City-based videogame developer, Avalanche Software Lc. and the establishment of a start-up development studio in Vancouver, Canada, led by former Electronic Arts Canada senior development and business staff.
Autodesk Inc. announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Colorfront Ltd., the leading developer of color correction technology for film studios and digital film laboratories, for $15 million. This acquisition will bring comprehensive new expertise in film laboratory processes, digital post-production, color science, image processing and hardware platform optimization to Autodesk. The transaction is expected to close in the next 45 days, and to be neutral to Autodesks earnings in fiscal year 2006.
While leading kids programming producer/distributor HIT Entertainment appears to be in a bidding war for a takeover, its independent directors reiterated support for a $917 million bid from equity firm Apax partners and asked other suitors to file actual proposals by May 13, 2005.
MIP-TV attendees, especially German broadcasters, were speculating on MTV Networks Europe (MTVNE) recent announcement that it will launch a Nickelodeon kids' channel and website in Germany Sept. 12, 2005, as part of the company's commitment to providing high quality, complementary programming on its four channels in the market. A new cross-brand advertising sales house, Viacom Brand Solutions, has been created to market the portfolio of channels.
Adobe Systems Inc. announced it will purchase Macromedia Inc. for around $3.4 billion in stock. Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by both boards of directors, Macromedia stockholders will receive, at a fixed exchange ratio, 0.69 shares of Adobe common stock for every share of Macromedia common stock in a tax-free exchange. Based on Adobes and Macromedias closing prices on April 15, 2005, this represents a price of $41.86 per share of Macromedia common stock.
Orlando-based Raven Moon Entertainment Inc. announced today (April 18, 2005) that it is launching a new animation division targeted toward servicing and generating revenues from the entertainment, advertising and creative content producers market.
Sales for the Raven Moon Animation division will be handled by industry veterans Janice Hamlin (276-632-1772) located on the east coast and Chris Devine Dailey (310-374-1081) located in Los Angeles.
Final negotiations are coming to a final stage in the discussions between the Screen Actors Guild, AFTRA and a group of major videogame publishers, reports VARIETY. The current contract is in its second extension and the actors unions have said there will not extend it again after the Friday deadline. The current contract was hammered out with Electronic Arts and nearly 70 other companies followed its guidelines. Unlike the film and TV industry that have the Assn.
Richard Cormier, former vp of the post-production studio Nice Shoes and managing director of the creative boutiques Guava and Freestyle Collective, has formed a consulting service named Richard Cormier Consultants. Cormier will provide strategic and long-term planning guidance to companies involved in digital media production, post-production and distribution. He has wide expertise in such areas as workflow, digital asset management and electronic distribution, as well as in studio management, restructuring and growth.
The Visual Effects Society (VES) joined the American Cinema Editor (ACE) in filing letters of protest last week to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, objecting to this years new time saving Academy Awards telecast for select craftspeople, according to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
A number of Oscars were handed out to winners seated in the audience or assembled onstage with other nominees, including SPIDER-MAN 2 vfx winners John Dykstra, Scott Stokdyk, Anthony LaMolinara and John Frazier.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. confirmed that a consortium comprised of Sony Corp. of America, Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Comcast Corp. and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners completed its acquisition of the company. With the finalization of the deal, MGM also revealed several key senior management appointments.
Classic Media Inc. announced that Spectrum Equity Investors, along with existing investors led by Pegasus Capital Advisors, have agreed to recapitalize Classic to fund future growth and acquisitions. Under the terms of the recapitalization, Spectrum has invested $75 million of equity and arranged a new $100 million senior debt facility for Classic, provided by banks led by J.P. Morgan. Spectrum Equity will become majority owner and join the Classic Media board along with the existing investors and management, which includes Random House Ventures.
Weta Digitals Barrie Osborne is partnering with LORD OF THE RINGS visual effects artist N. Madhusudhanan to co-found sister animation and sound effects/post-production studios in India, according to VARIETY. Osborne and Madhusudhanan are talking with several conglomerates including Tata, Birla, computer software firm Infosys and outsourcing company Wipro to team on the venture. Tata and Birla have film divisions and Tata has long wanted to get into the animation biz. The duo is looking at sites in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore for the studios.
The takeover of HIT Entertainment Plc. has turned into a three-way bidding war, with Classic Media and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. vying against Apax Partners, to purchase the kids producer/distributor based in London.
VIZ Llc. and ShoPro Ent. Inc., two prominent North American based companies specializing in Japanese content, announced the completion of their merger to form VIZ Media Llc. (VIZ Media), a new entertainment company specializing in the production and licensing of animated content for TV and theatrical distribution, publishing, home video distribution and consumer products.
Turbo Squid, home of the Web's largest collection of royalty-free 3D products available for download, celebrates their fifth anniversary today (April 1, 2005).
Turbo Squid was founded in 2000 after a group of 3D artists discussed how to buy and sell 3D models they had created and owned. Today there are more than 8,200 artists around the world who contribute to the largest collection of royalty free digital content available for download. Last month, Turbo Squid announced the 100,000th piece of content was added to its rapidly expanding library.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief exec DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., said he doesnt think there will be an oversaturation in the animated film industry due to the great variety of features to interest audiences.
The "single greatest fiction" about animated films was that a possible glut of movies was looming, Katzenberg told analysts and investors at a media conference in New York City March 30, 2005. "It's not as though all of these movies are the same," he said. "It's not like they're all James Bond movies ... they couldn't be more distinctive.
Major Japanese trading houses, which deal in commodities ranging from plants to noodles, are now ramping up their investments in Japanese animation for export, however concerns about lax copyright rules in some Asian markets still persists, reports YAHOO! ASIA. Trading firms see the profitability of cartoon character goods and intend to grow the business by leveraging ties with toymakers.
The Walt Disney Studios and Miramax co-chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein have reached a mutual agreement concluding the Weinsteins current deal with The Walt Disney Co.
DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. announced it has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in preparation for a secondary offering of $500 million of shares of its Class A common stock. All shares will be offered to the public by current stockholders of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. and therefore the company will not be issuing additional shares or receiving any proceeds from the offering.
Santa Monica, California-based Entity FX has just announced its new commercial representation, Connie Mellors and Ellen Dempsey of Connie Mellors & Co.
We want to work on commercials that push the creative envelope, said Kymber Lim, head of production for Entity FX. Someone of Connies experience and reputation will help us to attract those kinds of projects.
In order to unify its overall branding strategy, Autodesk has renamed Discreet to Autodesk Media and Ent. The division best known for 3ds max and other digital imaging software will continue to service the film, video, gaming and related media and entertainment markets.
This renaming ensures that the creative toolset from Autodesk Media and Ent. will stay on the leading edge of product innovation. Additionally, Autodesk Consulting is extending its organization by adding a dedicated media and entertainment division.
Time Warner sister companies HBO and New Line Cinema have acquired independent distributor Newmarket Films and hired its chief, Bob Berney, to run a new venture, reports REUTERS. Newmarket is best know for taking the risk in releasing Mel Gibsons THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, which earned more than $350 million at domestic box offices via grass-roots marketing aimed at religious groups. Other big releases for Newmarket included WHALE RIDER and MONSTER.
Pixar Animation Studios announced today that its board of directors has approved a two-for-one split of the company's common stock and the number of outstanding shares will jump from 100 million to 200 million.
At the close of trading on April 4, 2005, shareholders of record will receive one additional share of Pixar for every outstanding share held on the record date. Trading will begin on a split-adjusted basis on April 19.
On March 21, 2005, HIT Entertainment Plc. agreed, to take a £489.4 million ($934 million) cash takeover offer from U.K. venture capitalists Apax Partners.
HIT, the kids entertainment company behind such characters at BOB THE BUILDER, THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE and BARNEY THEPURPLE DINOSAUR, made the announcement as it revealed disappointing financial results for the six months ending Jan. 31.
Avid Technology Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Pinnacle Systems Inc. in a cash and stock transaction of about $462 million. The combination will provide Avid with immediate presence in consumer video and expand its professional broadcast offerings. The acquisition is subject to satisfying a number of closing conditions, including shareholder and regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the second or third quarter of 2005.