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U.K. Animation Studio Blue Zoo Secures $92M Chinese Investment

Multimillion pound investment from Chinese investor CU Animation Company to facilitate the launch of joint venture Lanzu, with six new projects slated for production over the next five years.

LONDON -- U.K.-based multi award-winning animation studio Blue Zoo has announced a deal with China UK Animation Company, which is a subsidiary of Zhong Ze Culture Investment Group, that will unlock a total of £72 million (approximately US$92 million) of funding to invest across new and existing IP and projects.

The multimillion pound investment from China will facilitate the launch of Lanzu, a joint venture between Blue Zoo and China UK Animation Company (CU Animation), and accelerate the delivery of current and future Blue Zoo productions. Lanzu will initially provide non-exclusive funding for the development and production of at least six new projects including an animated feature film, over the next five years, with the first project scheduled to go into production later this year. The joint venture will play a key part of Blue-Zoo’s ongoing growth strategy, accelerating the speed at which projects go into production once greenlit, and supporting access to the Asian and international market for commercial, branded and creative animation.

Additionally, CU Animation’s investment into Lanzu will release extra co-production funding for further series of Blue Zoo’s existing slate of IP. In line with Blue Zoo’s international growth strategy, the investment will accelerate the delivery of current and future Blue Zoo productions and co-productions, and support the development of new and existing IP.

“Our partnership with CU Animation Investment Holdings Ltd comes at a time of incredibly exciting growth for Blue Zoo,” Blue Zoo co-founder Oli Hyatt commented about the deal. “Lanzu will enable us to jointly hold and develop our IP whilst generating growth in the Eastern and global markets In partnering with Blue-Zoo, CU Animation has invested in the talented staff we nurture, our growing business and our dreams for the future.”

“Blue-Zoo stands out in terms of creativity, company ethos and commercial acumen, we are delighted to partner with them to enable and accelerate IP development and content production, supporting both Lanzu and Blue Zoo’s international growth,” added Gina Fegan, Director of Culture, CU Animation and Zhong Ze Culture Investment Holdings Ltd.

“This deal is great news for Blue Zoo, and the U.K. animation sector,” Animation UK executive chair Kate O’Connor said. “It confirms that the U.K. Animation is a global magnet for investment, creativity, skills and talent; known for our storytelling, our iconic characters and successful character development as well as our range of specialisms and supported by specific animation tax breaks.”

“This is great news for the UK animation industry. With centres of excellence across the UK including in Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Dundee, London and Manchester this new deal further reinforces our position as a global leader in animation production,” Mark Garnier, International Trade Minister, The Department for International Trade, commented. “The Department for International Trade will continue to provide support and advice to businesses like Blue Zoo. We want to attract inward investment to help them and others to achieve their growth ambitions and reach new markets.”

Blue Zoo Animation Studio is an award-winning animation studio founded in 2000. The company has a strong creative ethos and a worldwide reputation for standout, high-quality animation and is renowned for making creatively playful CG animation. For over 16 years they have been crafting high-quality animation for broadcast, commercials and online content.

China UK Animation Company is part of CU Culture Group, an entertainment group that operates between Europe and China, drawing its strength from both East and West. It belongs to Zhongze Culture Investments Holdings and has offices in Beijing, London, Dublin, Hong Kong and Macau. Well placed with international expertise and resources to take advantage of the market opportunities in China and globally.

CU Culture covers music, animation, film, TV, internet content, live events, sports, video distribution and has a talent agency. It provides investment opportunities, support for internationalization and a broad range of services for the development of innovative content and projects in China and internationally.

ZhongZe Culture Investment was officially established in Hong Kong in April 2014. ZhongZe Culture is a key part of President Xi Jinping’s initiative of promoting diversified ownership reforms as well as encouraging state owned enterprises to take a leading role in the supply side reforms. Zhongze Culture Investment has three sectors, including culture with branding of CU Culture, technology with branding of Thunder Tiger and finance with branding of Yingcheng.

Source: Blue Zoo Animation Studio

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.