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Rhythm & Hues Sale Finalized

Visual effects company Rhythm & Hues is officially sold to an affiliate of Prana Studios, 34×118 Holdings, in a deal valued at $17.8 million.

UPDATED: The Hollywood Reporter reports that "Prana Studios, a Mumbai- and Los Angeles-based animation and VFX company, acquired R&H on March 28 in a deal valued at $17.8 million."

R&H president Lee Berger reportedly said that "plans are to maintain the company's bases in Los Angeles, India, Vancouver and Taiwan," while the operation in Malaysia is "a little unclear" because of a different ownership structure.

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Visual effects company Rhythm & Hues has been officially sold to an affiliate of Prana Studios, according to a report by Variety.

The story notes that Prana is often called an American company but the official announcement identifies Prana as “a U.S. animation and visual effects studio with offices in Los Angeles and Mumbai, India.” The new owner of record for R&H is 34×118 Holdings, a Prana Studios affiliate. The owners of Prana and 34×118 Holdings were not disclosed but the official announcement of the deal said “(Prana was) founded in 2003 by Arish Fyzee, Kristin Dornig and Pankaj Gunsagar,” and its backers include “Anand Mahindra (Mahindra & Mahindra), Mukesh Ambani (Reliance Industries), Naren Gupta (Nexus Capital), and Ram Shriram (Sherpalo).”

Allan Soong of Deliotte, will serve as chief restructuring officer of 34×118. Lee Berger will be president, Erika Burton co-president, and Gautham Krishnamurthy is CTO.

Jeff Okun, who is also the longtime chair of the Visual Effects Society, is the senior VP of visual effects for Prana. He said in a statement, “While remaining a stand-alone company focusing on cutting-edge visual effects and innovative technology, R&H will be complimented by Prana’s world-class long-form animation. … With the additional support of our strong investor group, we are confident R&H will continue to be the innovative quality leader in our field that they’ve been for 30 years.”

Prime Focus World, which had also made a bid to acquire R&H, and is listed as a co-debtor in the bankruptcy proceedings, sent out a congratulatory release this afternoon, saying in part: “Prime Focus is disappointed that we did not prevail in the sale process for R&H, we wanted to take a moment to focus on the positive aspects for our industry’s most valuable asset – people. … We look forward to future opportunities with Rhythm & Hues and their team and wish them the greatest of successes in the future.”

Confirmation of the sale came on the heels of news about layoffs at Berkeley, CA-based Tippett Studio, and the shuttering of the TV VFX division at the London-headquartered The Mill.

Sony Pictures Imageworks has also reportedly confirmed that it is reducing its workforce, telling Variety that “SPI is restructuring in response to clients’ needs, and this restructuring affects less than 2 percent of our workforce, none of them vfx artists,” adding “SPI is committed to our LA based VFX business and we have a great slate of projects through 2014.”

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