It’s been a tense month-and-a-half for troubled VFX studio Rhythm & Hues. After filing for Chapter 11 in February, bringing global scrutiny to the tough economics of the US VFX industry, a federal bankruptcy judge today approved the company’s sale to an affiliate of India-based Prana Studios, 34×118 Holdings Inc. The new buyer won a drawn out auction for the Oscar-winning Life Of Pi company late last night with a winning bid valued at about $17 million. Prime Focus and Chinese company Brave Vision, represented by China Lion President and co-founder Jiang Yanmin, were also in the running, with Brave Vision tentatively approved today as backup bidder, pending documents to be provided to the court before final sale. (Other outlets misreported China Lion as a bidding company yesterday, but it was not involved.)
2ND UPDATE, 10:30 PM: The 3D animation and effects studio based in Los Angeles and Mumbai emerged victorious tonight after an auction that stretched across two days. Its past high profile clients include Disney (TRON: Legacy, Planes), Paramount (Transformers: Dark Of The Moon), and The Weinstein Co. (Hoodwinked!), studios not involved in the recent bankruptcy saga of the Oscar-winning Rhythm & Hues. A court hearing is set for 10 AM tomorrow to finalize the sale.
UPDATE, 3:30 PM: The end of the Rhythm & Hues bankruptcy saga just got pushed back a little further. Judge Neil Bason has approved Rhythm & Hues’ request to continue its bankruptcy sale hearing Friday at 10 AM. The auction will resume today at 4 PM. Two bidders are currently battling for the company, but Rhythm & Hues lawyers will allow an unnamed bidder that previously withdrew to submit a new bid, according to statements made today in court. They may also allow Psyops to rejoin the fray bringing the potential number of bidders to four. Meanwhile, the court will decide tomorrow if stalking horse bidder JS Communications will receive its contentious break-up fee.