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‘Gravity,’ ‘Dr. Strange’ VFX Studio Framestore Bought by Chinese Firm

Chinese group Cultural Investment Holdings Co (CIH) is taking over British visual effects studio Framestore, according to several British media reports.

Framestore won a vfx Oscar for Gravity and is also well known for its contributions to films such as Paddington, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Harry Potter franchise, as well as numerous television commercials and vr projects.

The deal, valued in the neighborhood of £150 million (US$187 million), will see CIH acquire 75% of the business with the remaining shares held by Framestore’s management team, including founder and CEO William Sargent. According to Sargent, CIH was chosen from among dozens of interested parties, including buyers from North America, the U.K., and Asia-Pacific.

“I started the process about nine months ago. We’re swapping the partners we had before for the Chinese group,” the Guardian reported Sargent as saying, noting that the previous partners included Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad. “I’m looking east.”

Framestore has several offices in addition to its main London Soho base, including New York, Montreal, and Los Angeles. The studio employs around 1,400 staff.

Upcoming film projects from Framestore include Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Beauty and the Beast, and sequels to Paddington and Guardians of the Galaxy. Their work is currently on show in Doctor Strange.

The deal is said to still be subject to the approval of Chinese regulators.

Framestore worked on over 365 shots for Disney's "Doctor Strange," opening this weekend in the U.S.
Framestore worked on over 365 shots for Disney’s “Doctor Strange,” opening this weekend in the U.S.