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Prime Focus To Acquire Reliance MediaWorks

UPDATED: The news follow Prime Focus World's announced plans to merge with "Interstellar" VFX house Double Negative.

Prime Focus—which a week ago announced plans to merge its Prime Focus World creative services unit with Christopher Nolan’s go-to VFX house Double Negative—has reached an agreement to acquire Mumbai-headquartered Reliance MediaWorks in deal that will give Reliance a 30.2 percent stake in Prime Focus.

Additionally, RMW and Prime Focus’ founders Naresh and Namit Malhotra will each make an $20 million investment in Prime Focus, which will be used to fund the merger of Double Negative with PFW. The Double Negative deal is expected to close in the next few days.

The deal with Reliance —which could close in 4-6 weeks—brings all of RMW’s film and media services business under the Prime Focus umbrella.

This will further expanded PFW’s global footprint, potentially reaching a total of roughly 5500 people across 20 locations offering visual effects, 3D conversion and animation. Locations include cities in Canada, China, India, the U.K. and U.S.

The deal will also grow the Prime Focus Technologies business unit, which will gain Reliance’s cloud-based digital media services. (Earlier this year, Prime Focus acquired cloud-based production services company DAX.)

Additional Reliance services for the Bollywood market—including its stages and rental business in Mumbai—will become part of Prime Focus Ltd.

RMW also owns 30 percent of VFX house Digital Domain. With the acquisition, Prime Focus will assume that ownership.

Namit Malhotra, executive chairman and group CEO for the Prime Focus Group, will continue to manage operations of Prime Focus. One Reliance exec will join the Prime Focus board following the acquisition.

Of the Reliance deal, Malhotra told The Hollywood Reporter that “we both have had similar aspirations….this seems to make strategic sense."

E-mail: Carolyn.Giardina@THR.com

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