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China's Galloping Horse, India's Reliance Win Auction for Digital Domain

Digital Domain logo - H 2012

They will acquire the visual effects house, which had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, for $30.2 million.

A joint venture, led by China's Galloping Horse America and India's Reliance MediaWorks,  submitted the winning bid to acquire key assets of Digital Domain, which had recently filed or Chapter 11 bankruptcy, for $30.2 million.

The companies said they would buy the visual effects, Mothership Media unit and certain other businesses and assets of Digital Domain Productions. Galloping Horse will control 70 percent of the venture, with Reliance owning the rest.

"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, British Columbia, Canada and a co-production stake in the feature film Ender’s Game," the companies said in a statement.

Searchlight Capital Partners had submitted a first $15 million bid for the Digital Domain and Mothership assets.

The sale is subject to bankruptcy court approval, which is likely to come in a Monday hearing.

Galloping Horse is known for its work in film and TV financing, production and distribution, as well as magazine publishing. It has also expanded into the movie theater space, new media, animation production and talent management.

Reliance MediaWorks is the film and entertainment arm of India's Reliance Group.

“Digital Domain is a legend in the industry, known for its world-class quality of work and creative talent," Ivy Zhong, vice chairman and managing director of Beijing Galloping Horse Film, said. "We are thrilled to have found a partner in Reliance MediaWorks that is as committed as we are to ensuring Digital Domain’s continued excellence and success.”

Venkatesh Roddam, CEO, film & media services at Reliance MediaWorks, said: “We have had a wonderful working relationship with Digital Domain over the years and we could not be happier to take it further through the joint Galloping Horse-Reliance acquisition. We are looking forward to working with Digital Domain employees and customers to make the operation better and stronger."

Added Digital Domain CEO Ed Ulbrich: "Our new partners have incredible strength and reach in the global entertainment marketplace. They are powerful strategic partners that understand our business and our clients' business. Their support enables us to continue creating the highest quality entertainment and advertising and puts us in the strongest financial position that Digital Domain has ever been in."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai