Sonic Foundry enters Sony fold

Conglom brings music-, vid-editing tools inhouse

Sony Pictures Digital has bought the media-creation software assets of Sonic Foundry for $18 million.

With the deal, Sony brings inhouse Sonic Foundry music- and video-editing software that it has offered through its Screenblast online service for nearly three years.

The Sonic Foundry software was relabeled “Screenblast Movie Studio” and “Screenblast Music Studio” and was beefed up with certain Sony-centric assets, such as clips from the conglom’s movies and music acts. Recently, Sony began offering the two software packages through retail, after selling them online through Screenblast.

The deal encompasses rights to Sonic’s “ACID,” “SoundForge” and “Vegas” video- and audio-editing and — mixing software packages. Under the deal, Sony will keep open Sonic’s Madison, Wis., engineering operations. The deal still requires Sonic shareholder approval but key stockholders have already agreed to back the transaction.

“During the past three years, we have come to recognize and admire Sonic Foundry’s engineering expertise and value their software applications,” SPD exec VP Patrick Kennedy said. “We are excited to integrate this world-class team and their products into our ongoing efforts to produce and deliver the next generation of consumer entertainment services.”

Sonic chairman and CEO Rimas Buinevicius said the deal will allow his company to pay down debt and finance its move into the development of rich media applications such as its Web presentation software, “Media Site Live.”