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Unity (U) to acquire Weta Digital for $1.625 billion in cash and stock

Unity has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire New Zealand-based VFX company Weta Digital, founded by Peter Jackson.

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Unity is heavily expanding its available graphics and visual effects technologies as of it Q3 2021 earnings results reporting. It was there that the company announced it would be acquiring the New Zealand-based Weta Digital, although WetaFX will remain a standalone company. Following the acquisition, this deal will bring Weta Digital’s suite of visual effects technology and expertise to Unity’s business. Mutually beneficial plans will also expand the quality of both Unity and Weta’s products, tools, and pipelines of development.

Unity revealed its intentions to acquire Weta Digital as both an aside in its Q3 2021 earnings results and as a standalone and expanded press release on its investor relations website on November 9, 2021. Founded in 1993 by Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings film fame, Weta Digital has served as one of the cutting-edge innovators of VFX designs throughout its many years of existence. With the acquisition, Unity intends to make Weta’s high-level tools available to artists around the world as they are integrated into Unity’s ecosystem. Weta’s proprietary graphics and VFX tools, such as Manuka, Lumberjack, Loki, Squid, Barbershop, HighDef, CityBuilder, and more will be part of that transition. Unity will acquire Weta for a total of US$1.625B in a combination of cash and stock.

Weta Digital has won awards for a number of visual effect innovations and designs, including work on James Cameron's Avatar, The Lord of the Rings live-action movies, and more.
Weta Digital has won awards for a number of visual effect innovations and designs, including work on James Cameron's Avatar, The Lord of the Rings live-action movies, and more.

“Weta Digital’s tools created unlimited possibilities for us to bring to life the worlds and creatures that originally lived in our imaginations,” said Peter Jackson, still Chairman of Weta Digital. “Together, Unity and Weta Digital can create a pathway for any artist, from any industry, to be able to leverage these incredibly creative and powerful tools. Offering aspiring creatives access to Weta Digital’s technology will be nothing short of game changing and Unity is just the company to bring this vision to life.”

Once the transition is complete, many major players will stay on as Weta joins the Unity ecosystem. CEO Prem Akkaraju, creator of Weta’s cloud commercial service, will remain as Chief Executive Officer of WetaFX. Weta Chief Technology Officer Joe Marks will move to the CTO role of Weta Digital at Unity.

The deal is expected to close in Unity’s Q4 2021, so expect to hear more then, but in the meantime, stay tuned to further reporting of Q3 2021 earnings results, right here at Shacknews.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at tj.denzer@shacknews.com and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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