Privately held Portland, Ore.-based animation house Vinton Studios recently got a boost when Nike co-founder Philip Knight made a major investment in the company and joined the board of directors.
Having conquered TV with the wildly popular stop motion California Raisins commercials and the primetime animated series The PJs for Fox and Gary & Mike for UPN, Vinton is poised to enter the feature family film market and become the next Pixar. The company has eight projects in active development and plans to announce the start of its first co-production with a major studio.
Knight, with an estimated net worth of $4.4 billion, has been a Vinton minority shareholder since 1998. His increased involvement is expected to help the company move forward with expansion plans.
There is no business connection between Nike and the animation studio, and Vintons management structure is not expected to change.