Crest secures $40 million funding, D E Shaw to hold 15%

MUMBAI: Crest Animation Studios Ltd. will be getting a capital infusion of up to $40 million from D E Shaw group. The specialised investment and technology development firm will hold 14.99 per cent of Crest and up to 26 per cent of the Indian animation company's US subsidiary RichCrest Holdings Inc.

The agreement, subject to shareholder approval, also sanctions zero per cent coupon finance for production of animated feature films. D E Shaw comprises a number of entities with approximately $23 billion in aggregate capital.

"The proposed investment comprises several distinct transactions representing an aggregate infusion of up to $40 million," Crest says in a release today. "This financing cements Crest 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," it adds.

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 leading movie distribution company in the United States. The first of the three feature films, titled "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble", has a planned 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 is proposed to fund the ongoing expansion and upgrade of Crest'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.

Says Crest Animation Studios managing director Seemha Ramanna, "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."

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