Cookie Jar and DIC to Merge
LOS ANGELES/TORONTO, June 20: DIC Entertainment Holdings has entered into a merger deal with Toronto-based Cookie Jar Entertainment, in a transaction valued at $87.6 million.
Under the terms of the agreement, Cookie Jar will pay approximately $31.5 million for all of the issued and outstanding equity in DIC. Upon closing, DIC will continue as a subsidiary of Cookie Jar, which will remain a private company. Subject to approval by DIC’s shareholders and other customary approvals, the deal is expected to close by fall.
The transaction will result in a combined animation library of some 6,000 half hours of programming. It also includes the licensing and merchandising rights to brands such as American Greetings’ Strawberry Shortcake, which has earned $3 billion at retail since DIC relaunched the brand in 2004, and Mommy & Me, a parent-oriented, direct-to-retail product line, as well as Inspector Gadget, Horseland and Cake. The merger covers DIC’s one-third interest in the international children’s channel KidsCo as well.
‘‘We are thrilled to be joining forces with Cookie Jar’s highly respected team,’’ said DIC’s chairman and CEO, Andy Heyward. ‘‘Our two organizations are a perfect fit, with compelling brands, strong licensing and merchandising capabilities and a commitment to quality programming that reflects the needs and aspirations of children and families around the world. I look forward to working closely with Michael and Toper in bringing our two organizations together and charting our future growth.’’
“This transaction will bring together two dynamic and successful organizations with a shared passion for excellence in children’s entertainment,” added Cookie Jar’s CEO, Michael Hirsh. “With the greater scale and resources of the combined company, we will be in a much stronger position to deliver on our promise of bringing the best entertainment and educational content to children and families around the world through the medium of their choice. I first had the pleasure of working with Andy Heyward on the original Inspector Gadget series and look forward to welcoming him into our team.”
—By Kristin Brzoznowski