LOS ANGELES, March 29 (Xinhua) -- A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge has approved the acquisition of the embattled Hollywood visual-effects and animation firm Rhythm & Hues Friday.
The approval ended the bitter struggle surrounding the financially failing studio whose accomplishment was featured in various Hollywood blockbuster hits.
Judge Neil Bason ruled in favor of 34 * 118 Holdings, an affiliate of Indian-American visual-effects and animation company Prana Studios Inc. at the end of a two-day auction which involved other major bidders including China Lion, a Chinese filmmaker, according to reports filed by various local media outlets.
The deal is valued at 17.8 million U.S. dollars including a 1.2 million dollar cash payment, assumption of loan obligations and contractual liabilities carried over from Rhythm & Hues, The Hollywood Reporter reported.
"Our complementary talents and relationships will create a new, best-in-class one-stop boutique provider of digital imagery to clients globally," Jeffrey A. Okun, the senior vice president at Prana Studios, said in a statement.
"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," he added.
The El Segundo, Calif.-based Oscar-winning visual effects studio, which has been known for its efforts behind a variety of movies including "Life of Pi" since it started in 1987, has been bitterly embattled in a financial trouble since it filed for bankruptcy protection in February. The company reported that it had 27.5 million dollars in assets and roughly 33.8 million dollars in liabilities.
Among the major bidders were Prime Focus, an India-based firm which was reportedly unable to seal a deal, and China Lion, although the latter had not participated in the acquisition directly.
Prana, which has offices in Los Angeles and Mumbai, India, has been known for visual-effects work on the 2010 actioner "Tron: Legacy" and Disney's "Planes." It said that Rhythm & Hues will remain a stand-alone company and it is likely that the newly acquired firm will downsize itself.
Rhythm & Hues' El Segundo headquarters will be sold and it is also probable that it will send as much of 80 percent of its visual-effects volume overseas, U.S. entertainment publication Variety reported.
The court-approved deal came after weeks of wranglings and troubles. About 600 Rhythm & Hues employees staged a demonstration outside the Doldy Theater in Hollywood, Calif., where the Oscar statuettes were presented at the 85th Academy Awards Feb. 24.
The visual effects and computer animation firm had more than 1,400 employees. It also has branches in Asian countries including India, Malaysia and Canada.