American software giant Adobe is understood to be preparing a bid for British visual-effects software developer The Foundry.
The UK technology company, whose 20,000 clients include Warner Bros, Sony Pictures and Pixar, was put up for sale late last year by private-equity owners Carlyle, who have hired advisers at Arma Partners to drum up interest. Carlyle is said to be looking for offers of between £150m and £200m, which reported £10m of earnings last year.
The Foundry’s visual- effects tool, Nuke, has been used in most modern major blockbusters, from period dramas to big-ticket sci-fi action adventures, such as Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow (pictured), Guardians of the Galaxy, Avatar and The Twilight Saga.
The software works by stitching together different layers of filming with green screen animation and CGI to create the shot.
However, the British technology firm is understood to have attracted interest from Adobe and because of the opportunity to apply The Foundry’s visual effects and 3D tools to the wider business community.
The company has recently launched a concept design software product called Modo, which means that prototype cars, phones and trainers can be drawn immediately into 3D rather than drawn first by hand in 2D and then physically built.
The company has also partnered with Weta Digital, the post-film-production house owned by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, to create a 3D painting tool.
The Foundry, which was started in 1996, employs around 370 people across its London, Manchester, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Shanghai offices.
Carlyle bought the business in 2011 from rival private-equity firm Advent in a deal valuing it at around £75m.
Carlyle owns several other UK companies including minicab firm Addison Lee, of which it pulled a sale last year, and is said to be preparing a £1bn float of its dental business Integrated Holdings. All parties declined to comment.
The Foundry's visual effects software Nuke was used to make the computer-generated characters in Guardians of the Galaxy look completely real