Abu Dhabi firm invests $200 million in oscar-winning VFX giant DNEG as it eyes AI and content expansion

abu dhabi
Cillian Murphy is J. Robert Oppenheimer in OPPENHEIMER, written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan.

DNEG Group, the Oscar-winning visual entertainment technology leader, has secured a $200 million investment from Abu Dhabi-based United Al Saqer Group (UASG), valuing the company at over $2 billion.

The deal, announced on July 2, 2024, marks a significant shift for the London-headquartered firm as it aims to expand beyond its acclaimed visual effects services into AI-powered technology and content production.

DNEG, renowned for its work on blockbusters like “Dune,” “Oppenheimer,” and franchises including Harry Potter and Marvel, plans to use the capital to accelerate its diversification strategy.

The company will fully activate its technology division, Brahma, which is developing what DNEG describes as “the industry’s most comprehensive AI-powered, photo-real CGI creator.”

“My career has been built on investing in and leading visual creativity with technology,” said DNEG Chairman and CEO Namit Malhotra. “This investment will accelerate our plans to further drive The DNEG Group’s existing activities and enable the Group to expand its offering, both in terms of the services we provide and the markets we operate in.”

The investment will also bolster DNEG’s content arm, Prime Focus Studios, allowing for increased investment in original content production.

The studio, which recently co-produced “The Garfield Movie,” has several high-profile projects in development, including “Animal Friends,” the Indian epic “Ramayana,” and “The Angry Birds Movie 3.”

As part of the deal, DNEG will establish a new visual experience hub in Abu Dhabi, a move that local officials say will significantly boost the region’s media sector.

His Excellency Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, hailed the investment. “This partnership not only accelerates technological advancements in the media and entertainment sectors but also underscores our commitment to fostering a robust ecosystem for content creation,” he said.

The deal sees UASG’s Nabil Kobeissi and Edouard Zard joining DNEG’s Board of Directors, along with Prabhu Narasimhan from NaMa Capital. Narasimhan will also become Executive Chairman of Brahma, taking a leave of absence from NaMa Capital to oversee the launch and expansion of the AI division.

“Our aim is to enable every storyteller to translate their imagination to screen faster, cheaper, and better,” said Narasimhan, outlining Brahma’s mission to democratize photo-real content creation.

This strategic investment positions DNEG at the forefront of the rapidly evolving visual entertainment technology sector. As the industry watches closely, the success of this venture could reshape the landscape of visual effects and content creation on a global scale.


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