Reliance buys DTS film restoration


NEW DELHI -- Mumbai-based Reliance Big Entertainment Technology said Wednesday that it has purchased the film restoration business from California-based DTS, Inc. for $7.5 million in cash.

The deal, closed April 4, marks an exit for DTS Digital Images from the business its founder John Lowry pioneered with algorithms to restore such Hollywood classics as "Casablanca," "Singin' in the Rain" and "Sunset Boulevard."

It is the second recent move by an Indian company into the film restoration market. In December, Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging and Chennai, South India-based Prasad Corporation Ltd. partnered to combine their skills in digital postproduction and film restoration.

Jon Kirchner, president and CEO of DTS, which also is known for its multichannel sound processing decoders, said the sale "takes us one step closer to our goal of focusing entirely on our consumer business."

Reliance senior vp Anil Arjun said DTS "fits well with the digital services strategy of the Reliance ADA Group in the global media and entertainment space."

Diversified Reliance ADA Group, which has a market capitalization of $81 billion and also owns radio stations and web sites in India, saw billionaire financier George Soros buy 3% of Reliance Big Entertainment for $100 million in February.

As part of its U.S. expansion plans, Reliance's film production and exhibition division Adlabs Films, in March bought 240 screens in 28 cities for an undisclosed sum. Adlabs operates more than 100 screens in India and has plans to convert all its screens to digital.