Autodesk to Acquire Shotgun Software

Software giant will accelerate development of production management, cloud-computing apps

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Seeking to ramp up cloud-computing services for entertainment production, Shotgun Software has agreed to be acquired by software giant Autodesk.

Shotgun makes popular production-management software that helps production, post and visual effects coordinate their efforts. By using cloud computing, Shotgun empowers far-flung facilities and locations to work closely together. Companies using Shotgun include DreamWorks Animation, Framestore, Illumination Mac Guff, Blizzard, Microsoft, Walt Disney Animation, Double Negative and Ubisoft.

Autodesk publishes some of the most important software apps for entertainment content creation, including Maya, SoftImage and MotionBuilder. Shotgun will remain an independent brand within Autodesk’s Media and Entertainment division and keep keep its HQ in Venice, Calif., though it will relocate from its current address to Autodesk’s nearby offices. Most of  Shotgun’s engineers and employees will make the move to Autodesk, though Shotgun CEO and co-founder Don Parker said, “A couple of people will go on to new adventures.”

Both companies agree the goal of the merger is to bring more resources to bear on improving Shotgun’s offerings and accelerate development.

Parker himself is not under contract, but intends to remain with Shotgun “until we’re finished.”

“I’m in because I’m really passionate about what we’re building for the industry,” Parker said.

Chris Bradshaw, VP of Media and Entertainment for Autodesk, said, “We’re hoping Don stays until he’s 65 and completes the vision he started for the company. There’s lots of work to do.”

Initially, Shotgun software users will experience business as usual, promise both companies. Over the coming months, though, Shotgun customers should expect to see a rapid increase in the pace of development and more improvements, more quickly.

Parker told Variety he didn’t set out to merge with another company. “About a year ago we felt we really needed to accelerate our development. Our goal was to accelerate development by expanding the size of our engineering team.” At the same time, Autodesk was hearing from customers that it needed something for production management.

“Clients are struggling to keep things on schedule and on budget as things grow more complicated,” said Maurice Patel, entertainment industry manager for Autodesk. With the merger, he said, “We’ll be adding our internal cloud and production management team to (Shotgun’s).”

Said Parker: “We realized through an acquisition we could triple our engineering team, so that’s what we decided to do.”

Autodesk, which had already invested in Shotgun, will acquire all shares from the current four owners, including Parker. The acquisition is scheduled to close by July 31.