Starz sells ‘Simpsons’ animation house

Film Roman acquired by company's former prexy Greenberg

As Starz Media looks to streamline its business, the company has sold animation studio Film Roman — the shingle that produces the animation for Fox’s “The Simpsons.”

Former Film Roman prexy Scott Greenberg led the team of investors that has acquired Film Roman in the deal, announced Monday by Starz prexy/CEO Chris Albrecht. Terms of the cash deal were not disclosed; both sides expect the sale to close by the end of this year.

Starz Media will continue to hold some proprietary interest in Film Roman product, including series “Dan Vs.,” which airs on kids network the Hub. Starz’s international sales group just sold global rights to “Dan Vs.” at this month’s Mipcom confab.

Besides “The Simpsons,” Film Roman also produced animation for Fox’s “King of the Hill”; MTV’s “Beavis and Butt-Head”; Marvel’s “Super Hero Squad,” “The Avengers” and “Ultimate Spider-Man”; and for Nick Jr.’s “Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!”

Deal comes as Starz continues to focus on its live-action TV business; Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media absorbed Overture Films’ distribution and marketing operation from Starz in July.

Starz Media continues to operate its profitable Anchor Bay Entertainment division, among other brands. “We have the utmost respect for the people of Film Roman and the work they produce,” Albrecht said.

As for Greenberg, the exec departed Film Roman in 2008. Since then, he launched another animation shingle, Bento Box Entertainment, along with Mark McJimsey and Joel Kuwahara. Greenberg and the new Film Roman team plan to purchase Bento Box and combine the two entities under Greenberg, McJimsey and Kuwahara.

Bento Box is producing Fox’s upcoming primetime entry “Bob’s Burgers.”

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