Framestore has agreed a takeover by a Chinese conglomerate that values the Oscar-winning vfx firm at nearly £150m.

Framestore founder Sir William Sargent confirmed to Televisual that the company is close to completing a deal with Cultural Investment Holdings Co. The Shanghai-listed group was previously focused on the automotive sector.

The deal, which was first reported by Sky News, will see CIH acquiring 75% of Framestore’s shares.

Sargent stressed that Framestore’s management team will remain in place and that nobody working in the company is exiting as a result of the deal.

The management team will retain a minority stake after the deal completes.

The takeover is reported to be subject to the approval by several Chinese regulators.

The sale process for Framestore kicked off nine months ago. Sargent said Framestore had attracted worldwide interest. “If we hadn’t found the right partner, we would not have done the deal as business is good at present,” he told Televisual.

The deal will allow existing shareholders to recoup their investment in the firm. Among the shareholders who have agreed to sell their stakes in Framestore is Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, which acquired 30% of the company in 2014.

Sargent added that the deal would help to position the company for the next 10-15 years.

Sir William told Sky News: "Partnering with CIH positions us both creatively and financially to be the leaders in the world of story-telling across all visual platforms.

"This builds on our strength in Europe and North America, and will accelerate our move into the exciting Chinese market, as well as open up other rapidly expanding markets in Asia."

Framestore was founded 30 years ago by Sargent, and is one of the UK’s leading post production houses with a strong international reputation.

It has won an Oscar for its work on Gravity. Its film credits this year include Now You See Me 2, The Legend of Tarzan (pictured above), Doctor Strange, Arrival and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Tim Dams

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