Paragon, Lacewood pact

TORONTO– Paragon Entertainment Corp. has inked a deal to raise its stake in animation house Lacewood Prods. Inc. to 75% from 50%.

“We decided it would be in both our interests to expand the relationship,” Paragon chairman Jon Slan told Daily Variety.

Toronto-based Paragon made its initial investment in Lacewood, which is headquartered in Ottawa, in 1995 and has been its principal distributor for the better part of a decade.

Until now, Lacewood has been controlled by its founder Sheldon Wiseman, who said he wanted to retain a 25% minority interest in order to participate in the company’s growth.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Paragon earns the right to boost its equity interest in Lacewood by increasing its contributions to the animator’s working capital. Slan said Lacewood will use the added funding to develop more proprietary production.

The transaction is scheduled to close by the end of March, which happens to be the end of Paragon’s fiscal year. As a result, the deal will not affect Paragon’s results in the current fiscal year.

Wiseman said Lacewood expects a C$30 million ($22.2 million) production slate next year and forecasts revenue of approximately $13.3 million.

Lacewood has two new animated series in production, “Matthew and the Midnight Adventures” and “Papyrus,” both co-productions with Editions Dupuis S.A. of France; and two mini-series, “Legends of the Land,” a three-part anthology of Mohawk, Cree and Haida stories, and “The Teddy Bear Adventures,” two half-hour specials to be seen on Canada’s CTV Television Network and the Disney Channel.

The company recently completed four animated series: “Vor-tech,” “Flash Gordon,” “The Savage Dragon” and “Kassai and Luk.”

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