Academy Award-winning visual effects and animation studio Rhythm & Hues was acquired out of bankruptcy Friday by a wholly-owned affiliate of Prana Studios. At a hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles, Judge Neil Bason approved Prana Studios affiliate, 34×118 Holdings, as the winning bidder after a two-day auction. Prana Studios is an L.A.-based animation and visual effects studio with offices in Mumbai, India.
“Our partnership will allow R&H to continue the business of creating world-class digital imagery,” said Jeffrey Okun, senior vice-president, VFX, Prana Studios. “While remaining a stand-alone company focusing on cutting-edge visual effects and innovative technology, R&H will be complimented by Prana’s world-class long-form animation. Our complimentary talents and relationships will create a new, best-in-class one-stop boutique provider of digital imagery to clients globally. With the additional support of our strong investor group, we are confident R&H will continue to be the innovative quality leader in our field that they’ve been for 30 years. We are thankful to Universal and Fox for their overwhelming support.”
Allan Soong of Deliotte CRG will serve as chief restructuring officer of the new operating company, and will work with Lee Berger as president, Erika Burton as co-president and Gautham Krishnamurthy as CTO to restructure operations while maintaining the creative expertise of the R&H brand.
“This is a positive outcome to a difficult situation,” said Berger, “And we are thrilled to be able to put this process behind us. We are grateful for Prana’s support as well as the support of their investor group, and are excited to begin the next chapter of R&H’s history.”
Anand Mahindra, chairman, Mahindra Group said, “We are delighted to have been early-stage investors in Prana Studios. This bold move will make them the animation/VFX leaders with global delivery capability and will substantially increase the scale and complexity of their work.”
According to founder of Sherpalo Ventures and Google board member Ram Shriram, “This new arrangement allows for a single stop, stable, long-term solution for all the digital creative needs of the studios.”
With headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., and additional facilities in Mumbai and Hyderabad, India; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Vancouver, Canada and Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Rhythm & Hues has contributed to three VFX Oscar-winning films – Life of Pi, The Golden Compass and Babe. The company has also received four Scientific and Technical Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, (AMPAS).