Prime Focus World makes “significant valuation” for the UK VFX house.
Alex Hope, Managing Director of Double Negative says the facility will expand into India, China and Canada following the merger with Prime Focus World, which is expected to close next week.
The Double Negative brand remains and CEO Matt Holben and MD Alex Hope remain in place as head of the facility as well as taking up positions on the Prime Focus board.
“We’ll be opening a Dneg office in Vancouver and looking to work with PFW’s existing team in Mumbai and to bring that into the fold over a period of time,” Hope said
“Prime Focus World has focused on 2D to 3D conversion and we will look to grow that business with an integrated visual effects and conversion offer.”
He confirmed PFW’s investment in Dneg. “We’ve commanded significant valuation which has allowed us to ensure the level of control that we are after.”
He explained: “We’ve been looking at a variety of ways to expand Dneg over the years having built the business from a small start up in 1998 to having large facilities in London and Singapore. The next step was to expand globally. We needed to look at Canada and also opportunities in India and China and really the thought process was how to go about doing that. We talked with private equity banking and more strategic partners but we found, having worked with Prime Focus over the last few years, a strategic partner who understands our business.”
Hope said that Prime Focus and its backers Standard Chartered “wanted to get behind Dneg “to drive forward what we’ve achieved to date and they are happy to leave us to run that in the manner we’ve done successfully so far.”
He said: “We run a large and successful business and we’re good at balancing the books. We needed a plan to respond to the needs of clients that VFX be a truly global industry.”
Dneg, he says, has the potential “to reach beyond the work of lots of talented artists in rooms in london and out onto film sets as digital technology become more realtime.”
In addition he says there will be other places in the world that come online to do VFX.
“I would not have committed to building the facilty we have in London (opened in 2012) if I didn’t feel confident that the UK remains a vibrant centre for VFX activity. The UK tax breaks combined with the funding committed to skills and training have contributed to talented artists coming to work here and to do leading edge work. That remains the focus of our business. We are not about the producing the lowest common denominator.”
He concluded: “I see a world where digital production technology is the film business and we are going to be in a position to work on that whether in in pre-, production, or post. This deal sets up Dneg to fulfill its potential in where the industry is going to be in 5-10 years time.”
Double Negative was recently awarded work on Terminator Genesis; Grimsby; Ant-Man and Insurgent in addition to projects including Avengers: Age of Ultron and Interstellar.