Oscar-winning visual effects firm pulls London listing over market uncertainty

Oscar-winning visual effects business DNEG has pulled its planned listing on the London Stock Exchange less than a month after first revealing its intentions.

Bosses at the company, which has won five Oscars for its work on Blade Runner 2049 and First Man, among others, planned to raise £150 million from the listing.

But on Friday the company issued a short statement, saying: “DNEG has today decided to postpone its initial public offering (“IPO”) due to ongoing market uncertainty.

“The company can confirm that it has received a strong level of interest from investors and therefore will be assessing when to recommence its IPO plans once market conditions improve.”

The decision comes at a difficult time for businesses in the UK, which remain buffeted by the economic and political uncertainty.

Recent data from accountancy giant EY showed that the third quarter of 2019 saw the smallest number of listings in the UK for a decade.

In the first nine months of the year there were 24 listings, raising £4.8 billion – a fall of 55% from a year earlier.

DNEG hoped to use the money raised to pay down its debts and to cash in on the limited number of special effects providers capable of offering the scale and expertise needed on big-budget films and shows.

The 90th Academy Awards – Press Room – Los Angeles
The 90th Academy Awards – Press Room – Los Angeles

The company revealed revenues for the year to March 31 hit 309 million US dollars (£245.5 million) with profits of 20.7 million dollars (£16.5 million), and adjusted pre-tax profits of 69.6 million dollars (£55.3 million).

In the three months to June 30, revenues were 80.7 million dollars (£64.1 million), with adjusted pre-tax profits of 17.6 million dollars (£14 million).

DNEG is part of Namit Malhotra’s Prime Focus empire and was founded in 1995 in Mumbai, India. It merged with London-founded Double Negative in 2014 and has won numerous awards for its work.

These include Baftas for Interstellar, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2, and Inception.

The company’s other work includes TV series Chernobyl and Catch-22.