Canuck kids' entertainment companies combine

LONDON — DHX Media has acquired Cookie Jar Entertainment, creating Canada’s largest independent children’s entertainment group.

Deal values Cookie Jar at $112 million, to be paid through a combination of approximately 36 million DHX shares, $5.05 million in cash and $66.7 million of debt.

Toronto-based DHX produces shows including “Franny’s Feet” and “Martha Speaks,” and sells skeins like Brit hit “Rastamouse.”

Cookie Jar’s 6,000-plus library boasts “Caillou,” “Inspector Gadget” and “The Doodleboops,” and feeds CBS’s Saturday morning programming block, Cookie Jar TV.

Once the deal is completed by mid-October, subject to regulatory approval, DHX will control more than 8,550 half hours of programming.

DHX Media CEO Michael Donovan said, “The acquisition of Cookie Jar increases our global reach, scale and potential growth.

“We are also focused on positioning the company to take advantage of emerging distribution platforms and this deal will elevate our position in this area of business.”

Cookie Jar CEO Michael Hirsh will become executive chairman of DHX. Cookie Jar prexy and COO Toper Taylor will continue to focus on digital distribution and business development.

Hirsh said, “Today is an exciting day for Canada’s children’s entertainment industry. Cookie Jar joining forces with DHX results in a company that is an independent global market leader in all aspects of children’s entertainment from distribution to production to licensing and merchandising.

“There is an insatiable appetite for kids content in the new digital streaming universe, and we are very well positioned with our extensive library of evergreen, popular and recognizable brands to satisfy the market demand.”

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