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'Titanic' effects creator declares bankruptcy, business sale agreed

NEW YORK -- Digital Domain Media Group Inc., which won Academy Awards for visual effects in films including “Titanic,” filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday and said its production business would be sold, raising questions about millions of dollars in Florida subsidies for a new studio.

The company, whose founders include “Titanic” director James Cameron, went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy just 10 months after its initial public offering, with the company's market value tumbling from a peak of US$400 million in May.

On Tuesday, Digital Domain said it had agreed to sell its production business — the bulk of the company — for US$15 million to private equity fund Searchlight Capital Partners.

A one-day auction is planned on Sept. 21 to solicit competing bids, as required by the bankruptcy code.

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