D E Shaw to invest $40 m in Crest Animation

MUMBAI: Hedge fund company DE Shaw will be picking up a 14.99 per cent stake in Crest Animation Studios and 26 per cent stake in its subsidiary Rich Crest Holdings Inc for $40 million.

In addition, the agreement sanctions 0% coupon finance for production of animated feature films. This financing cements Crest Animation as one of the few 3-D CGI studios globally that is active in co-production of feature films with a major motion picture distributor.

RichCrest Animation Inc., located in Burbank, California, has entered into an agreement to co-produce three full-length 3-D animated feature films in a joint venture with Lions Gate Inc., a movie distribution company in the US. The first of the three feature films, titled Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, is scheduled to release in 2008. The second movie project, titled Alpha & Omega, is currently in the development stage, and is planned for release in 2009.

Specifically, the investment in Crest Animation is proposed to find the ongoing expansion and upgrade of the company’s 3-D animation facilities and to meet the long term working capital requirements of the business. The investment in the subsidiary is to fund the requirements of RichCrest Animation Inc., which is actively involved in the 3D animated movies business.

Crest Animation managing director Seemha Ramanna said, “D E Shaw has deeply understood the potential of 3-D animation in India and the significant global opportunities for Crest. The proposed investment is custom-tailored to enable Crest and its subsidiaries to build a powerful presence in the 3-D animation business worldwide, across the formats of television, DVD and feature films.”

The D E Shaw group is a specialised investment and technology development firm that comprises a number of entities with approximately $23 billion in aggregate capital.

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