July last year, marked a momentous occasion in the Indian VFX industry as the Indian and overseas operations of Reliance MediaWorks’ film and media services business were merged with Prime Focus in an effort to build a behemoth to support the ever rising demands of new age filmmakers, who wished to explore the limits of visual effects in their stories.
According to the agreement, Namit Malhotra was named the executive chairman and Group CEO for the Prime Focus Group, while continuing to manage operations of Prime Focus. RMW and the promoters of Prime Focus, namely Naresh and Namit Malhotra, were to each infuse fresh equity capital of Rs 120 crore into Prime Focus at Rs 52 per share, through a preferential allotment, aggregating Rs 240 crore. And the equity proceeds would then be used to fund the then recent merger of Double Negative with PFW.
On 8 April, 2015 Prime Focus had announced that it has completed the transaction to combine with Reliance MediaWorks’ global film and media services business.
However, according to fresh media reports and a careful study of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), we have learnt that the media and entertainment arm of the Reliance Group, has sold nearly 10 per cent of its stake in Prime Focus. On 24 September, 2015 Reliance MediaWorks sold 2,91,40,700 shares (9.75 per cent) of Prime Focus at Rs 52 per share on the NSE. Also, Standard Chartered Private Equity (Mauritius) Limited bought 2,91,40,700 shares of the same company at Rs 52 on the NSE.
Standard Chartered Private Equity (Mauritius) Ltd, an existing investor, which currently owns 12.23 per cent in the company. After the transaction, the private equity firm’s stake in company goes up to 21.97 per cent, while Reliance MediaWorks’ existing stake of 44.86 per cent will come down significantly. Reliance MediaWorks will still continue to be the biggest public shareholder in the company, with promoters (Naresh Malhotra, Namit Malhotra and Mansoon Studio) having 35 per cent shareholding.
The combination of RMW – PFL and Academy Award winning Double Negative created the world’s largest and the most integrated media services group with over 5,500 people present across 20 locations offering visual effects, stereo 3D conversion, animation, and cloud-based digital media solutions that transcend the film, advertising and television industries. Whether, any of this will undergo any major transitions is something only time will tell!