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Hirsh welcomes hands in Cookie Jar

TV distributor seeks private equity

MONTREAL — Canuck kids-TV producer and distributor Cookie Jar Entertainment is seeking a private equity investor to buy a major stake in the Montreal-based firm.

Cookie Jar, makers of series such as “The Doodlebops,” was formed after Hirsh and an investment group that included TD Capital Canadian Private Equity Partners bought troubled Montreal animation company Cinar in 2003 for $144 million. They changed the name from Cinar to Cookie Jar. Omers Capital Partners, a Toronto-based private equity firm, is one of the main investors in Cookie Jar.

But Cookie Jar CEO Michael Hirsh told Daily Variety that current management, including Hirsh and president Toper Taylor, will be staying on and that the company will not change its current business strategy.

But some of the current stakeholders will likely sell their interests in the privately held company. Hirsh and Taylor are minority stake-holders.

Hirsh said the company has doubled its entertainment revenues over the past three years and the company has seen its cash flow more than triple over the same period. (As it is a private company, Hirsh would not give out dollar figures.)

Hirsh said Cookie Jar was considering launching a public-share offering last year, but management decided it made more sense for the company to try to find private equity investment.

“We always knew we wanted to get new capital in at this time, and we decided to go the private equity route,” said Hirsh. “Cookie Jar is just going on to a new stage with investors who are reinvigorating the company with new capital. It’s going to be good for Cookie Jar.”

Hirsh said the company is in talks with potential investors.

Besides “The Doodlebops,” Cookie Jar series include “Arthur,” “Caillou,” “Magi Nation,” “Hurray for Huckle” (based on the Richard Scarry books) and “The World of Quest.”

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