Unity to pay $1.6 billion for The Lord of the Rings VFX maker Weta Digital

Unity, the company behind the popular Unity game engine, announced its intention to acquire the pipeline, technology and tools of Weta Digital. Weta Digital is best known for its work with The Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson, the director of LOTR, co-founded Weta Digital. He has been involved in major entertainment franchises such as Game of Thrones, The Planet of the Apes and many Marvel movies.
Unity is making a significant bid to provide powerful new tools for visual effects teams, game developers and other industries that depend on computer graphics. This deal is also a major move to compete against Epic Games' Unreal Engine. It has been used in The Mandalorian by Industrial Light & Magic and Riot Games, both League of Legends developers, for mixed reality esports events.

Unity will be home to 275 Weta Digital engineers

Unity plans to buy Weta Digital in cash and stock for $1.625 million. The deal is expected close in Unity's fourth quarter, which we are currently in. Unity will acquire Weta Digital's two hundred seventy-five engineers and "dozens" other company tools.

Jackson will continue to own the majority of Weta Digital's VFX teams. However, the deal does not include them. Instead, they will be part a separate entity called WetaFX. Weta Workshop, which makes physical costumes and props, is completely separate from Weta Digital.