Visual Effects Company Sold for $1.6 Billion to Unity

Peter Jackson, the Academy Award-winning film director and producer of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong, has sold his visual effects company Weta Digital to Unity Technologies for $1.6 billion in cash. The sale is expected to close by March 31st and will be funded with a combination of debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank and new shares from Unity’s existing investors.

Unity Technologies is the creator of the world’s most widely used real-time 3D development platform, and has grown its annual revenues by more than 100 percent year-over-year for the past four years. Today, more than 5.5 million developers (engineers, artists and designers) in over 230 countries and territories use Unity to create immersive 3D and 2D experiences.

Unity Technologies began discussing a potential acquisition of Weta Digital in August 2018, with the aim to empower Unity developers to create even more highly-anticipated real-time entertainment experiences for audiences worldwide. We want Unity to be the home of creators, said John Riccitiello, Unity’s CEO.

Peter Jackson’s team at Weta is the best in the world. This acquisition gives us a strategic opportunity to significantly increase our award-winning 3D development tools and technology across the film, games, educational, architecture, training and visualization industries, continued Riccitiello. This also enables Unity developers to reach new markets with their creations.

Weta Digital, a film visual effects and digital production company based in Wellington, New Zealand, was founded as Weta Productions by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, and Jamie Selkirk in 1993. In July 2005 the company name was changed to Weta Digital to more accurately represent the company’s expanded focus. The acquisition is expected to close by March 31st 2019. The parties agreed not to disclose the financial terms of the transaction.

Weta Digital is currently headquartered in Miramar, New Zealand with approximately 1,000 employees. Weta Digital will operate as an independent company and continue to provide the best real-time 3D development platform for artists and designers around the world, said Unity.

Unity Technologies’ top competitors include Epic Games and Autodesk according to an article by VentureBeat published in March 2018.

For more information, check out the Unity blogpost . You can also read Valve’s interview with Weta Digital’s VFX Supervisor David Conley on Steam here . If you want to catch up on everything related to Unity, you can check out our dedicated section here .

It seems that the Weta Digital will continue to work with Unity Technologies. We can expect a lot more from them in the following years! And a better support for their incredible tools and technologies, since they’ll be part of Unity Technologies. Very exciting times ahead! The best thing is that it’s going to be free for all Unity developers.

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As a huge fan of Weta Digital, I’m really excited to see what they’re going to work on in the future. It would be amazing if we could get to see them working on VR/AR experiences as well as games and other non-film related projects.