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Technicolor To Acquire Visual Effects Studio Mr. X

Technicolor is beefing up its TV visual effects business by striking a deal to acquire Toronto-based vfx studio Mr. X.

Mr. X will become Technicolor’s TV vfx brand. It will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Technicolor and will be part of the company’s Production Services division, which already includes vfx studio Moving Picture Company.

Mr. X’s credits include History Channel’s “Vikings,” Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful,” and FX’s upcoming “The Strain.” Its feature credits include Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming “Crimson Peak,” “RoboCop,” “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” and “42.”

MPC will remain Technicolor’s vfx brand for “leading projects,” while Mr. X will pursue “high-concept TV, production, genre features and international film co-productions,” said Technicolor. Tim Sarnoff, Technicolor’s president of production services, told Variety “We believe that’s an area of substantial growth in the future.”

Mr. X has just completed it’s best year in terms of revenue, said Dennis Berardi, co-founder and president of Mr. X. Berardi will remain with the company with the title global managing director of Mr. X. He will report to Sarnoff.

“I built this company from the ground up. I literally mortgaged my house to get it started,” said Berardi. “I see this as us growing up and emerging on the global landscape. I love this company. I’m excited to stay.”

Mr. X will remain separate from MPC. Sarnoff said Technicolor sees value in keeping Mr. X a separate entity from Moving Picture Company. “Mr. X has proven to be a very successful brand over the last 14 years and we think it will continue to be a very successful brand in the future,” said Sarnoff. He said there will be no job cuts at either Mr. X or Technicolor as a result of the acquisition, adding  jobs may be added in Toronto.

Sarnoff said “We can balance the work between (MPC and Mr. X) but there is no immediate intention of actually moving employees between the facilities, most specifically because the facilities are in different geographic territories.” MPC’s North American offices are in Los Angeles, Vancouver, Mexico City, Montreal and New York, but the New York office is devoted to advertising. Mr. X’s two offices are in Toronto and New York; it has over 200 employees combined at those locations.

Mr. X is now owned by Berardi and by Topix, a computer graphics and animation company. Technicolor is buying out both owners completely. The deal must be approved by the Canadian government’s Department of Canadian Heritage before Mr. X can officially change hands.

Terms were not disclosed, but Technicolor said it expects the deal “to contribute incremental positive earning immediately.”

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