FrameFlow in Sony's Imageworks fold

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NEW DELHI -- Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures Imageworks has acquired a 50.1% equity stake in Indian visual effects and animation studio FrameFlow based in Chennai, South India. The company will now be called Imageworks India.

Some reports indicate that SPI acquired the stake for $5 million, but Sony officials declined comment on the sum involved.

Founded in 2003 as FrameFlow Llc., based in Atlanta and Los Angeles, the company delivers visual effects and animation services with a state-of-the-art production operation in Chennai and has worked with Sony Pictures Imageworks' Culver City facility on such projects as "Click," "Ghost Rider" and the upcoming "Spider-Man 3."

Imageworks India's expansion plans include a new facility that "will eventually have a strength of about 300 personnel," said Don Levy, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment senior vp communication and marketing. "The idea is that that the India facility will be integrated with our existing production pipeline offering our core services in digital production."

Sony executives Wednesday also lauded the Indian company's staff for its work on previous collaborations.

"The level of professionalism and quality of work that we experienced in working with the FrameFlow team was exemplary and gave us the confidence to extend and establish a strong long-term relationship," said Jenny Fulle, Sony Pictures Imageworks executive vp, who now will also serve as co-managing director of Imageworks India. "We are very excited about expanding our capacity with Imageworks India in Chennai."

Rumors of SPI acquiring a major stake in FrameFlow first appeared in November, but they initially were denied by FrameFlow India managing director Abhaya Kumar (HR 11/27).
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