It started with a press release from AVID stating they were looking to restructure and cut staff, including the news that they intended to sell Softimage. “Plans to” sell Softimage was all they said. Moments ago an email was sent to Softimage customers saying that Softimage had in fact been sold to Autodesk. Click through for the various press releases and the letter sent to Softimage customers.

The release was from Marc Petit at Autodesk. While it is to early to get anyone to comment on what this means in terms of jobs or product integration, one thing is for sure it places Autodesk it an incredibly dominant position in the 3D animation space.

Autodesk Press Release

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Oct. 23, 2008 – Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) and Avid Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVID), announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for Autodesk to acquire substantially all of the assets of Avid’s Softimage business unit for approximately $35 million.

Softimage was founded in 1986 by Daniel Langlois and is headquartered in Montreal, Canada. Softimage develops 3D technology for the film, television and games markets. Its flagship product is SOFTIMAGE|XSI, an extensible 3D animation software solution used by leading media and entertainment companies, including Digital Domain, Ubisoft, SEGA Corporation, CAPCOM, Animal Logic and The Mill. Autodesk Media & Entertainment provides animation, visual effects, editing/finishing and color grading solutions for the 3D market, including entertainment and design industries.

“Softimage has been developing state-of-the-art 3D technology for more than 20 years, and its products are recognized as best-of-breed in the entertainment industry,” said Marc Petit, senior vice president, Autodesk Media & Entertainment. “Upon the completion of this acquisition we will be adding Softimage technology and products to our portfolio, and welcoming one of the most talented teams in the industry to Autodesk Media & Entertainment. Both will help us accelerate the work of our Games Technology Group, as we build the next-generation of real-time, interactive 3D authoring tools for games, film and television.”

Gary Greenfield, CEO and chairman of Avid Technology, added: “We are excited about what this transaction means for customers of Softimage.  The Softimage 3D product line has performed well in the video games market, a sector where Autodesk has a track record of success.  Autodesk will provide a great home for the business.”

Softimage Product Integration Upon completion of the acquisition, Autodesk intends to continue developing and selling Softimage’s core product line, while integrating certain Softimage technology into future versions of Autodesk solutions and products.  Autodesk plans to acquire and continue developing the following Softimage products: o SOFTIMAGE|XSI: Including XSI Essentials, XSI Advanced, XSI Academic, XSI Mod Tool and the XSI software development kit. XSI is production-proven 3D animation software for games, film and television. It offers a complete 3D modeling, animation, rendering and development environment for visual effects and custom tools. o SOFTIMAGE|Face Robot: A complete software solution for easily rigging and animating 3D faces. Face Robot enables studios to create life-like facial animation at incredible speeds. o SOFTIMAGE|Cat: This advanced character animation system is a plug-in for Autodesk 3ds Max software. It is intended to be integrated into the 3ds Max product line. o SOFTIMAGE|Crosswalk: This interoperability solution is intended to be integrated with Autodesk’s own interoperability technology.

Petit commented: “As we have demonstrated since the acquisition of Alias in 2006, we’re committed to giving our customers choice when it comes to their 3D tools. We plan to maintain and grow the Softimage product line, and through Autodesk FBX provide better interoperability between Softimage products, 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya. FBX also provides interoperability between Softimage products and our specialized applications such as Autodesk Mudbox, Autodesk MotionBuilder, Autodesk ImageModeler and Autodesk Stitcher, as well as numerous third-party applications.”

Petit concluded: “At Autodesk, we care deeply about 3D technology; we know users invest a lot of time and energy into mastering their favorite 3D product. To all 3D artists out there, I want to tell you that we understand your passion for the creative tools you use daily, and that with Autodesk, you can choose your passion.”

AVID Press Release issued at Market Close in the U.S

Avid Announces Third Quarter 2008 Results and Continued Business Transformation Highlighted Links

TEWKSBURY, MA–(Marketwire – October 23, 2008) – Avid Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVID) today reported revenue of $217.1 million for the three-month period ended September 30, 2008, compared to $226.8 million for the same period in 2007. GAAP net loss for the quarter was $66.4 million, or $1.80 per share, compared to GAAP net loss of $5.9 million, or $.14 per share, in the third quarter of 2007.

GAAP net loss in the third quarter of 2008 included goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges associated with the 2005 Pinnacle acquisition, amortization, stock-based compensation, restructuring charges and related tax adjustments totaling $62.0 million. Excluding these items, non-GAAP loss per share was $.12. For the third quarter of 2007, GAAP net loss included $21.0 million of amortization, stock-based compensation, restructuring charges, other costs and related tax adjustments. Excluding these items, non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $.37 in the third quarter of 2007.

As part of the company’s business transformation efforts, Avid also announced today plans to divest the Softimage® 3D animation product line. In addition, the company announced a reduction in workforce to better align its cost structure around the core businesses.

“We’ve made solid progress in transforming Avid, by organizing around our customers, delivering solutions that will help our customers succeed, and taking necessary steps to align our cost structure to support our core product lines,” said Gary Greenfield, Avid’s chairman and CEO. “We are pleased with our progress and plan to leverage Avid’s collective audio and video strengths, from the consumer to the enterprise, in ways that will deliver sustainable value to customers and prospects.”

Revenue for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2008 was $638.2 million, compared to revenue of $671.1 million for the same period in 2007. GAAP net loss for the first nine months of 2008 was $97.9 million, or $2.59 per share, compared to GAAP net loss of $11.8 million, or $.29 per share, for the same period in 2007. GAAP net loss for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2008 included $82.0 million of impairment charges, amortization, stock-based compensation, restructuring charges and related tax adjustments. Excluding these items, the non-GAAP loss per share was $.42 per share for the first nine months of 2008. GAAP net loss for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2007 included $45.8 million of amortization, stock-based compensation, restructuring charges, other costs and related tax adjustments. Excluding these items, non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $.82 for the first nine months of 2007.

At September 30, 2008, the company’s cash balance was $122.4 million, down $102.0 million since the end of 2007. During the first quarter of 2008, the company used $93.2 million in cash to repurchase 4.3 million shares of common stock under the previously-announced share buyback program.

Recent Highlights

— The release of Avid® DS 10 – a solution designed to save customers time and money by offering professional editing, compositing, keying, image retouching, and paint and graphics capabilities in a single application.

— The introduction of Avid automation to the European marketplace for the first time – integrating the broadcast master control solutions Avid acquired from Sundance Digital.

— BusinessWeek named Avid’s Digidesign® 003® Factory, a portable digital audio production console for aspiring musicians and producers, as a recipient of this year’s prestigious IDEA Award for Best Global Design. The 003 Factory was awarded a bronze medal in the highly competitive Entertainment category. M-Audio also received the prestigious Best Buy BRAVO! Award in the Musical Instruments category.

— All of the Emmy® Award winners across 31 Outstanding Picture Editing, Outstanding Sound Editing/Mixing, and Outstanding Program categories at the 60th Annual Emmy Awards used at least one system from Avid to create this year’s top television programming. A majority of these programs employed workflows consisting of multiple systems from the various Avid brands. In total, more than 140 nominees in 38 categories used Avid brand systems.

Autodesk Letter to Customers

October 23, 2008

Dear Autodesk/Softimage Customer,

We are pleased to announce that Autodesk and Avid Technology have signed a definitive agreement for Autodesk to acquire substantially all of the assets of Softimage, a Canadian subsidiary of Avid Technology. We are excited by this opportunity to join forces, combining two strong teams into a world-class center for computer graphics software research and development.

Both Softimage and Autodesk Media & Entertainment are headquartered in Montreal, Canada. Softimage has been developing state-of-the-art 3D technology for more than 20 years. Its products are recognized as best-of-breed in the entertainment industry. With nine million users, Autodesk is a world leader in 2D and 3D design software for the media and entertainment, manufacturing, building and construction markets.

Softimage’s technology complements Autodesk’s entertainment products. Many film, television and game pipelines include products from both companies. Adding Softimage products and technology to Autodesk’s entertainment product line will allow us to offer you more complete and efficient workflows.

Upon completion of the acquisition, you will still be able to choose your favorite 3D modeling, animation and rendering solution – whether it is SOFTIMAGE®|XSI®, Autodesk® 3ds Max® or Autodesk Maya® software. We intend to continue driving innovation in all three products. Following close, we will also focus on improving interoperability through the Autodesk® FBX® software 3D data exchange solution to help improve your production efficiency when working with multiple Autodesk applications.

We are also excited by the proposed addition of Softimage talent and technology to Autodesk Media & Entertainment, as it will accelerate the work of our newly formed Games Technology Group, which includes technologies such as Autodesk® HumanIK® and Autodesk® Kynapse® software. The group’s purpose is to deliver the next-generation of real-time, interactive 3D authoring tools for games, film and television.

Autodesk will acquire and plans to continue developing the following Softimage products:
· SOFTIMAGE|XSI, including XSI Essentials, XSI Advanced, XSI Academic, XSI Mod Tool and the XSI software development kit (SDK). XSI offers a complete 3D modeling, animation, rendering and development environment.
· SOFTIMAGE®|Face Robot® software, which enables the creation of life-like human facial animation quickly and easily.
· SOFTIMAGE®|CatTM, an advanced character animation system that is a plug-in for Autodesk 3ds Max software. It is intended that SOFTIMAGE|Cat will be integrated into the 3ds Max product line.
· SOFTIMAGE®|Crosswalk, an interoperability solution, is intended to be integrated with Autodesk’s interoperability technology.

The acquisition is expected to close in the next month. Until that time, Autodesk and Softimage will continue operating independently. Please continue using your existing contacts for sales, services and support. We will keep you updated on this acquisition, both directly and online at www.autodesk.com/softimage.

We look forward to welcoming you to the combined family and thank you for your business.

Announcement Page on the Autodesk Web Site

Autodesk has a special page on their web site with more information about the acquisition.