Visual Effects Oscar Heavyweight DNEG Gets $250M Injection From UK Investment Firm Novator

DNEG, a visual effects specialist whose work has won five of the past seven Oscars in the category, has gotten a $250 million investment from UK-based firm Novator Capital Advisors.

The influx of capital into DNEG’s parent company, Prime Focus Limited, will enable it to streamline operations, consolidate minority investments and aim for future growth, the company said. In addition to effects on a number of major films like the upcoming Dune and Matrix 4, the company also does animation and series for the booming streaming sector. It has also started to explore video games and production.

Prime Focus Limited is DNEG’s parent company and majority shareholder. Chairman and CEO Namit Malhotra, who grew up in a family of Bollywood professionals, founded Prime Focus in 1997. He will continue in his current role after the transaction and boost his stake in Prime Focus to 70% from 35%. Novator, which is led by Icelandic billionaire Thor Björgólfsson, will own 15% of DNEG.

DNEG won its most recent Oscar for Best Visual Effects last April for Tenet. Other recent wins came for Blade Runner 2049, Ex Machina and Inception. The company has a workforce of nearly 7,000 across offices and studios in LA, Montréal, Vancouver,
London, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai and Mumbai.

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“The global explosion in demand for high-quality content across platforms has given rise to significant opportunities in the media and entertainment market,” Björgólfsson said, “and we have identified DNEG as having all of the key components in place to take full advantage of these opportunities.”

Malhotra said the doubling of his investment in Prime Focus “is testament to my full commitment and total belief in the opportunity.” With Novator’s infusion, he added, “we are taking the next step in scaling and widening the scope of our business to capitalize
on this huge opportunity, and I’m confident that this will make us an even stronger partner to our clients in both content services and content creation.”

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