British VFX company Framestore, which worked on films such as Gravity, the Harry Potter franchise and Doctor Strange, has agreed to a takeover by Chinese conglomerate Cultural Investment Holdings Co., in a deal that values it at nearly £150M ($187M).
This marks another Western company being bought by a Chinese company following Wanda’s acquisition of Dick Clark Productions yesterday for a cool $1B and its acquisition of Legendary Entertainment for $3.5B in January.
In the Framestore deal, Shanghai-listed Cultural Investment Holdings will acquire 75% of the business while founder William Sargent will retain the rest of the company with a minority stake after the deal is made. The takeover remains subject to the approval of Chinese regulators.
This appears to be CIH’s first move into the entertainment sector, with the company focused on the automotive sector up until now, and sees China move in on another piece of the global film pie.
Speaking to Sky News, Sergeant said: “Partnering with CIH positions us both creatively and financially to be the leaders in the world of story-telling across all visual platforms. This builds on our strength in Europe and North America and will accelerate our move into the exciting Chinese market, as well as open up other rapidly expanding markets in Asia.”
One of the shareholders who have agreed to sell their stakes in Framestore is Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, which acquired 30% of the company in 2014.
Sergeant founded the VFX powerhouse 30 years ago and since then it has developed into one of the world’s most prominent post-production houses. The company’s list of credits is expansive, ranging from The Dark Knight and Superman Returns to Lincoln and Guardians of the Galaxy. It also worked on Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and is currently working on Paddington 2.
Confirming the news, Sergeant told Deadline that it’s “business as usual as we transition external shareholders” and that the company was “excited about developing a major Asia business.”