The firm, whose software has been used to grade movies such as The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ringand Stuart Little 2, is believed to have called in the administrators after failing to service a large tax bill. 5D director Marc Dando was unavailable for comment but it is understood that the firm's 50 staff in London and the US were asked to leave their offices last Friday (11 October).
5D sold its digital printing software division to Global Graphics nearly three years ago in a $24m (£15.4m) deal, the bulk of which was paid in Global Graphics shares. It is believed that 5D subsequently sold its stake but despite significant falls in the share price, the firm incurred a substantial capital gains tax bill which it has been struggling to service.
Renowned for its research and development, 5D has gained huge respect and affection around the world for products such as compositor Cyborg and grader Colossus. M2 chairman Bill Cullen, who has recently bought a Cyborg, said: 'It is very sad because the products are so good. I hope that some one will come along and sort them out so they can continue.'
Arrangements for product support are uncertain although it is believed that a number of firms have expressed interest in buying 5D or its assets.