Alias, makers of the Maya 3D rendering and animation software, is breaking away from long-time owner Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI). Alias is being acquired by private equity firm Accel-KKR with participation from Alias’ own management in a deal valued at US$57.5 million, according to a joint statement offered Thursday.
Alias has been a key player in the Mac OS X professional software market from the start. The company first announced its intention to bring Maya to the Mac platform in 2000 and released a Mac OS X version in 2001. Since then, Alias has kept Mac users in their sights, even using 2002’s Macworld Conference & Expo in New York as the event to launch Maya version 4.5.
As it exists today, Toronto, Canada-based Alias is the combination of Alias Research and Wavefront Technologies — two firms founded in the mid-’80s. The companies merged together under SGI’s ownership in 1995 as Alias|Wavefront. The new name was adopted in July 2003.
Alias President Doug Walker said that Accel-KKR’s capital will help the company thrive as an independent entity. “We believe Alias is uniquely positioned to lead and drive future innovation and, at the same time, make 3D technology more accessible to both professionals and consumers. The breadth of applications for this category of software is enormous,” said Walker.
Alias first noted in February that it was in acquisition talks with an at that point unidentified private equity investment firm. At the time, the company stated that it had no plans to change its management team, operation or product and service line. In an interview earlier today, Walker reiterated that comment. “All of that remains absolutely the fact,” Walker told MacCentral.
Walker said that Alias will leverage Accel-KKR’s capital and merger expertise going forward. “Alias has always been in the business of acquiring technology that is useful and that is valued by our customers,” he said.
“Moving forward, we’ll be able to [acquire technology] on a more accelerated schedule. Innovation happens everywhere, so yes, we’ll be looking both at technologies and companies that will augment our value. We will not be slowing down the pace of our innovation.”
Walker also made clear that Alias’ commitment to Mac users isn’t changing in light of this new ownership. “The Mac market is incredibly important to us,” Walker said. “We’re listening as they tell us they want. The Mac user base has grown faster than any other user group.”
Alias and Accel-KKR expect to close the sale this quarter.
This article was updated with more quotes from Alias President Doug Walker.