Law Blog

Channel 12 Interview: Jeff Harrington re Digital Domain

Digital Domain sold for $30 million at bankruptcy court auction

Firms from China, India team up in joint venture

Updated: 5:43 PM EDT Sep 24, 2012

The bankrupt digital production company founded by director James Cameron is getting sold to a joint venture formed between a Chinese media company and an Indian counterpart for $30.2 million.
A U.S. subsidiary of Beijing Galloping Horse Film & TV Co. and Mumbai-based Reliance MediaWorks teamed up to outbid other companies in a bankruptcy court auction Friday. The deal was announced by the companies Sunday night.

It’s been a busy month for the erstwhile animation giant. Digital Domain laid off about 300 workers at its Port St. Lucie location, then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection days later.

Digital Domain, best known for its work on Cameron’s “Titanic,” has produced visual effects for more than 90 movies, including “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” and the “Transformers” series.

Although Digital Domain is being sold, its Florida assets are still under the control of a bankruptcy court, WPBF 25 News’ Terri Parker reported. That includes the land that was given to the company by the city of West Palm Beach to build a film school in partnership with Florida State University.

“Our No. 1 priority is to protect the investment that the city made, protect the land, that’s involved in this deal,” city spokesman Elliot Cohen said.

Getting the land back may not be so simple, bankruptcy attorney Jeffrey Harrington said, because Digital Domain mortgaged the land for $2 million before it declared for bankruptcy.

“Well, that’s too bad, because when it comes to real property, it’s a different situation, ” Harrington said. “It’s secured debt, and the secured creditors are going to be in a stronger position. So whatever lender … (gave) the mortgage on the land, obviously, is going to want to foreclose now on that property.”

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