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SGI sells software division

The high-end computer maker sells off its Alias unit, which makes software for 3D graphics and animation, for $57.5 million.

Silicon Graphics Inc. announced on Thursday that it will sell its Alias division, which makes software for 3D graphics and animation.

The high-end computer maker said in a statement that investment firm Accel-KRR has agreed to buy Alias for $57.5 million. The sale is expected to close this quarter.

SGI makes supercomputers, other heavy-duty servers, and workstations, which are beefed-up PCs used for demanding tasks such as 3D modeling and scientific simulations. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has struggled in recent years as a result of the overall tech downturn and of the introduction of commodity practices, of the type that have shaved PC profit margins, to high-end computers.

Alias' Maya products are among the leading tools used to create 3D images for movies, computer games and other media. The market for such graphics software has boomed in recent years with the rise in sales of video games and the increasing use of computer-generated graphics in film.

Alias will operate as its own company under Menlo Park, Calif.-based Accel-KRR, which said it will retain the current management.

"Our plan is to accelerate investment in the product and service areas that provide the greatest payback for our entertainment and design customers," Alias President Doug Walker said in a statement. "Our new partnership with Accel-KKR will facilitate this activity, providing long-term patient capital and other strategic resources to help us thrive as an independent enterprise."